Folktales are the collective memories of people, handed down from one generation to another. But often, this process of handing down stops the evolution of these folktales. Vijai Dan Detha, one of India's most iconic and iconoclastic writers, not ...
only puts these mostly oral stories into words, he also weaves contemporary issues into them and gives them renewed relevance. His stories speak of alternative ways of life and, sometimes, they speak out for the most common victims of feudal societies - women. In 'A New Life', two women, Teeja and Beeja, are married to each other to satisfy the whim of an unbending father. They realize the mistake that they have been inadvertently forced into, but they also understand that this is the ideal union for them and, with the help of the ghost chieftain, build a new life for themselves. In 'The Crow's Way' the selfishness of a husband, in-laws and other benefactors convinces a young wife that the only true human relationship is the one between a prostitute and her customer. 'Discretion' is the story of a she-jackal who is more virtuous than Sita but unwittingly cheats on her husband with the sun and the moon. The stories in New Life, many of them path-breaking in Indian writing, are refreshingly free of stereotypes. Detha's deep understanding of human relationships and his matter-of-fact engagement with unconventional themes makes this an unforgettable collection.
Number of pages: 206
Date of publication: 01/12/2009
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