Mirror in the Hall And Other Stories

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Author: Prakash Bal Joshi
Publisher: Ratna Books, An imprint of Ratna Sagar Pvt Ltd
Translator: Smita Karandikar
(Pp214, ISBN 978-93-5290-322-1, eISBN 978-93-5290-323-8 Rs 399)

Mirror in the Hall and Other Stories, are fiction stories, originally written in Marathi and translated in English. The essence of local nuances is very well preserved by the translator, Smita Karandikar. The original book titled Arsa Baithakitalaa Aani Itar Katha is translated with such a competence and flair that non Marathi can also easily get to the essence of the mood that author is capturing. The local traditions and customs are described in a way that it gives visual collage to readers.

Joshi is a multifaceted personality with four decades of creative writing and international recognition as an artist. His artistic finesse is also imbibed in layout designing of the book, which makes it a great amalgamation of words and visuals. Cover and endpaper paintings are by him and so are compelling illustrations at the top of every short story.

There is a woman who goes to work every day and is gradually overtaken by a short-term memory loss and experiences a self-engrossed state. Also there is a rural politician’s OCD with cleanliness and purity that leads to self destruction. In another story, there is a man who is trapped in the rituals of afterlife and a housewife, who is having anxieties because of young working daughter. All the 15 stories are governed by routines and schedules of a common man, which sometimes infiltrate into the lives of readers.

To conclude it is a fascinating collection of short stories, which will stay with readers and take them to their own world of intriguing realities.

– Smita Dwivedi

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