Within – Short Stories for the Evolving Multicultural Woman by Aditi Wardhan Singh is a collection of 30 short stories. According to the blurb, these stories are told from a desi perspective. The desi tone is set right from the enchanting cover and the fonts in the titles.
Unfortunately, the desi effect spills over to the writing too. In fact, the vocabulary is as desi, or even more desi than the perspective itself.
What I liked –
- The cover–is soothing and appealing.
- The story titles–are apt to the stories. Singh has named each story after an emotion, and the stories convey the same.
- Almost all the protagonists are women.
What did not work for me –
Out of the 30 stories, 21 stories garnered 2 stars.
Innocence, Magic, Confidence, Perfection, and Compassion–these stories lingered around 2.25 stars.
Only Pride, Frustration, Dignity and Acceptance reached 2.5 stars.
Overall, the stories are lacking in terms of content. Most of them are too short and finish even before the story has sunk in. And the poor writing style adds to the discomfort.
The colloquial narration with an overdose of Hindi sentences, and a literal translation from Hindi to English further dampened my reading pleasure.
Sharing a few examples from different stories –
“Toh this day is not just yours, na.”—I was flustered with so many sentences ending with ‘na.’
“I gotta go. Please email me the recipe. Yeh bol rahe the he wants to have those during the weekend.”
“Baba and I are solid.”—these lines are spoken by a woman whose daughter is about to get married. I couldn’t picture a woman that age speaking in this manner.
There is minimal ‘show don’t tell.’
I couldn’t feel for any of the characters. I know it’s difficult to form deeper bonds with characters in short stories, but here, I couldn’t find it in me to care for any of the characters. Forget caring, I can’t even recollect a single name!
I found it difficult to overlook the glaring editing errors too. The tenses jump like a toad in a thunderstorm. But that’s not all! Apart from the jump in tenses, there are a lot of structuring issues. E.g., in Kindness, the daughter is 8-years-old when the story starts. Hardly 15 sentences later, she is mentioned as 6-years-old.
Apologies if this review feels like a rant, but trust me I am not ranting. I am being honest and upfront in sharing my experience. No book is loved by all readers, and I am sure, this book will find its fair share of love and appreciation.
Within, did not work for me.
Wordsopedia Rating 2.1/5
|Title: Within – Short Stories for the Evolving Multicultural Woman||Author: Aditi Wardhan Singh|
|Publisher: Raising World Children LLC||Publication date: January 23rd 2022|
|Genre: Fiction – Literary||Format: Kindle|
|ASIN: B09NM92XCJ||No. of Pages: 277|
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About the author
Aditi Wardhan Singh is a multi award-winning, best-selling author. She is an authoritative voice on cultural sensitivity and empowerment, featured on numerous global publications and broadcast networks like NBC, CBS, Huffpost, Thrive, Richmond Family Magazine, Reading with Your Kids podcast, etc. Her passion for diversifying dialogue within multicultural families led her to founding the collaborative RaisingWorldChildren.com platform.