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Monday, May 04, 2009

Reader's Diary #486- Rana Dasgupta: A Delhi Story



I don't always know what short story to read next and it's a scramble to think of someone I'm interested in reading and then find something of theirs available online. This week I scoured the Internet and came up with Rana Dasgupta. Dasgupta's first book of short stories, Tokyo Cancelled, was short-listed for a John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 2005. One of its short stories was also nominated for a National Short Prize (later renamed the BBC National Short Story Prize). I was enthralled by his website in which he encourages you to write graffiti all over it. It was there I found his short (flash fiction, actually) story, "A Delhi Story."

Despite using modern colloquialism instead of formality and despite being set in Delhi, "A Delhi Story" reminded me of some of the old Russian short stories. Theme-wise, dealing with pride and materialism, it seems like something Gogol might have tackled. Its subtle satire also seems more attune to the old Russian sensibilities than our modern satire. Though I enjoy modern satire a great deal, it's much more punchliney and direct than any of the old stuff I've read.

"A Delhi Story" is a short, but clever and amusing, story.

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6 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

I will go check it now!

Thanks!

Book Psmith said...

I am patiently (ok, maybe impatiently) waiting for a collection of Russian short stories on interlibrary request...this may be perfect in the meantime since it has that Russian feel.

Teddy Rose said...

I manage to fit in a short this weekend. Thanks to Gautami's previous review, it was a goodie.

I will have to go check out A Delhi Story.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Nice choice! I rather enjoyed the pointlessness of the whole transaction and the very odd way in which the man tells the tale so proudly.

John Mutford said...

Gautami: I hope you enjoy it.

Book Psmith: I'm looking forward to reading some of your reviews of those.

Teddy: I've also really been enjoying everyone's recommendations.

Barbara: Remember the scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts walks back into the store and taunts them for blowing a huge sale? The guy in "A Delhi Story" should have watched that movie.

JoAnn said...

Oh good - a new author! I will check out this story. Thanks.