Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Negative Space - Ranjani Rao

This book (Kindle version) is a collection of four short stories, all with women protagonists (all in the US) and the choices they make. On one hand, the choices appear pretty negative but by the end of the story, you realise it's not bad at all. Actually, by the end of the book, you realise life is not so bad after all, whatever you choose to do with your life.

In the first story 'Negative Space', a mother working in the US deals with her first born being taken to India to live with the grandparents when he is only six months old. The child stays on for two years or more and she starts wondering if he will recognise her at all. The guilt of staying away from her child, comes with the burden of having another. What if it turns out to be the same story? But she appears to understand that she can choose now how she wants to live - by the end of the story.

In 'Uncoupling' we meet a young woman who is now heading home to India to see her dying aunt, someone with whom she did not always have a great relationship. She realises how she may have misjudged her aunt from her old perspective and that her aunt actually deserved a lot better.

In 'Lotus' the wife has a story that makes us realise that it is ok to be true to oneself - not always do what society wants - as long as both people in the relationship are happy with it. Your choices are your own. Your happiness is your own.

In 'Rhythms that Linger' we meet a grandmother who finds her long lost passion and rediscovers herself. Life is not over until it is over.

Nice uplifting themes. Nothing negative. Ranjani has this empathy for her characters and brings out their innermost dilemmas and desires with great sensitivity. She writes well, in a way that makes the reader relate to almost everything in the story, and that's one her greatest strengths. The stories are real and stick to you which is the hallmark of a good story to me. Well done Ranjani. Keep writing.

Available on Kindle.

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