Strangely Familiar Tales is the debut work of Vijayalakshmi Harish. It is a short collection of three stories, and true to the title, they are all strangely familiar! The stories are not inter-connected and are all in different genres, but the thread weaving them together is Hindu mythology.
I fell in love with the book right from the prologue. The words spoken with utmost honesty reflect her passion and spirit. “Read diversely, because there is always the danger of falling prey to the single story”–these lines will stay with me forever. The declaration about her decision to not italicize the non-English words filled me with pride. “In a book that is based on my culture and my people, I don’t see the need to make that space.”
Also, the thoughts/ inspiration behind the story is quite insightful, and helps connect with readers who may not know much about Hindu mythology.
A Fishy Affair is the first story in this collection. Slightly filmy, it is a modern re-telling of Kalidasa’s Abhijnanashakuntalam. A suspense thriller with its main protagonist being Kali Das, a private detective. The author has touched upon the topic of LGBTQ in this story in a subtle and aesthetic manner.
My personal favorite from this collection is the second story–Bitter Fruit. Based on the magical tree, Kalpavriksha, it is the story of an orphan Ritu. Married off by her aunt and uncle into a rich political family, she is stuck in a love-less marriage. True to its name, the story reveals the dark side of society–a society plagued by patriarchy, marital rape, and female infanticide. Interspersed with a touch of magic, it makes for an unforgettable read.
A Definition of Evil is the last in this collection. Drawing inspiration from Yakshis, it is a fantasy ride. Though the author has sent out a powerful message in this story, I did not enjoy this as much as the other two.
With her flawless narration, and love for strong female characters, the author has done a remarkable job.
Thank you #Blogchatter and Vijayalakshmi Harish for the free copy.
Wordsopedia rating 4/5
|Title: Strangely Familiar Tales||Author: Vijayalakshmi Harish|
|Publisher: Pothi||Publication date: June 4, 2020|
|Genre: Fiction||Format: eBook|
|ISBN: –||No. of Pages: 55|
Download your free copy here at Pothi
About the Author
Vijayalakshmi Harish is a writer and poet. Her poetry has been published with Reading Hour, Maudlin House, and Here Comes Everyone. She also writes for Women’s Web on issues at the intersection of pop culture and feminism. She has previously worked as a marketing executive and as a soft skills trainer, and has a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology. She is also a voracious reader, enthusiastic gardener, and a fan of all things mythological and magical.
Get in touch with the author at Facebook