Aldous Huxley's ‘After The Fireworks’ is a searching account of a relationship between a 50-year-old celebrity novelist and a naïve 21-year-old fan of his books
The Stories in my Life: Anton Chekhov's The Bet is essential reading in a time of lockdowns and self-isolation
Chekhov's short story, The Bet, is a meditation on the nature of isolation, a thought-provoking account of a journey into solitude and the self
The Stories in My Life: Jorge Luis Borges’ The Garden Of Forking Paths pushes against conventional thought-dimensions
To call Jorge Luis Borges’ The Garden Of Forking Paths a ‘story’ seems a travesty. For it is a tour de force of creative cerebration, a quantum leap of the imagination.
The Stories in My Life: Reading RK Narayan's timeless reflections on history and discarded leaders in 'Lawley Road'
In this story by RK Narayan, a popular but unsubstantiated rumour causes a journalist in a small-town to write about and ultimately buy the statue of an allegedly tyrannical British officer. But all hell breaks loose when it is discovered that the officer was a true Indophile.
Thomas Mann’s Little Lizzy deals with an uncategorised specie of victimhood, one of the denied, the deprived and socially damned, though never with a capital ‘D’ to dignify the situation.
The Stories In My Life: In A Christmas Letter, Rosie Jackson subverts stereotypes with a tale of flawed, fallible lives
Rosie Jackson's A Christmas Letter does not indulge in familiar fantastications of Christmases Past, Present or Future, nor overflow with Christmassy stereotypes but, subverting it all, rises to a different level, ringing true to some elemental and beneficent grace that indwells our flawed, fallible lives.
The Stories In My Life: Dostoevsky's White Nights sees two strangers negotiate unlikely love — and loss
Dostoevsky's White Nights seems to be built of a certain crepuscular dream-light; it is a story that moves very much in the real world yet seems to exist in some liminal, intensely charged, private universe. It covers typical Dostoevsky terrain: surface conformities covering the most awesome turbulence of conflicted souls, love, exaltation, loss | Neelam Saran Gour writes in 'The Stories In My Life'
The Stories In My Life: Raja Rao's Narsiga, an impish shepherd, imagines Gandhi in the mould of Rama
Raja Rao's story about Narsiga, an impish little shepherd child, imagines Gandhi as Lord Rama, returning victorious to Ayodhya. Narsiga's ideas are moulded by the house he lives in — that of a landlord who also runs an ashram devoted to Gandhian principles and practice | Neelum Saran Gour writes in 'The Stories In My Life'
The Stories in My Life: Amid changing times, a tale about a music teacher's commitment to perfection, by Alice Munro
Every year, Miss Marsalles has a party — an annual recital presented by her little students — which is a tiresome and tedious affair for her invitees, for she is a relic of a vanished era. But this time, one performance changes how her invitees perceive her work | Neelam Saran Gour writes in this edition of The Stories in My Life
The Stories in My Life: Leo Tolstoy ponders mismanaged, superficial living in The Death Of Ivan Ilyich
Of all Tolstoy’s writings, the panoramic story of Ivan Ilyich works its wisdom viscerally into the reader’s experience, compelling us to slip into a two-minute silence when it ends – for Ivan Ilyich, for all humanity, for our own narrow self-project that keeps us distracted from the closure that awaits us all.
The Stories in My Life: Understanding nationalism and resistance through Alphonse Daudet’s ‘The Last Lesson’
Through Alphonse Daudet’s The Last Lesson, sitting in my own classroom, I could just about grasp — very obscurely — the way dominant nationalism in victors could fire up living nationalism in victims | Neelum Saran Gour writes in her monthly column, 'The Stories in My Life'
The Stories In My Life: Ruskin Bond's writing shines in the stories of Speedy, a wise, discursive crow
Speedy, the crow who features in Ruskin Bond's story A Crow For All Seasons, is someone really special; his observations on life in general and stupid humans (and boorish dogs) in particular are keen and perceptive. His story might be variously titled ‘A Day In The Life Of The Uncommon Crow’ or ‘The Universe According To Speedy, The Crow'.
The Stories In My Life: Roald Dahl's 'Genesis and Catastrophe' captures the awesome wonder of brute destiny
One of the things readers like about Roald Dahl is the addictive quality of his stories. If it’s a page-turner we are after, an immersive, compelling, headlong plunge down the page, culminating in a gasp-inducing revelation, no better candidate for cerebral provocation than Dahl.
The Stories in My Life: Isaac Bashevis Singer's story set in Warsaw just before WWII explores complex ideas with simplicity
The short story Pigeons was written by Isaac Bashevis Singer in Yiddish and later translated into English jointly by the author and Elizabeth Shub.
First published by Oxford University Press in 1947, it was one of Rao’s early stories and is possibly now remembered only by Rao specialists.