Stories by K. C. Das
This exceptional collection of stories explores human emotions and motivations in all their untidiness.
K. C. Das is deservedly one of the most celebrated writers in India today. He writes primarily in Oriya, the language of his native state of Orissa, where he was born in 1924. A civil servant by profession, Das pursued a second career as a writer of stories, poems, and essays.
The stories in this collection take place in an urban setting. The characters are mainly middle class, making them more accessible to North American readers than other examples of contemporary Indian fiction. These are not simple stories. They are about “divides,” about gaps between realities and imagination. In complex shifts between direct dialogue, interior monologue, and interior or imagined dialogue, Das lovingly but mercilessly exposes his characters' thoughts, self-deceptions, and the games they play with each other. These are stories about human weaknesses, the fallibility of human relationships, and the strategies we adopt to cope with our failures. They are about coming to terms with unpleasant, sometimes shocking truths about ourselves and others.
Praise / Awards
". . . stories of human ambiguity, in all of its beauty and frustration."
--Michigan Today, Fall 2000
"A keen observer of humanity, Das spins lively stories that capture the whims, fancies, and obsessions of his characters. . . . He juxtaposes class, gender, and age distinctions to illuminate complex relationships and character flaws and to highlight human predicaments. . . . Tinged with black humor and irony, the stories attempt not to resolve human dilemmas but rather to highlight them. Das raises tantalizing questions that leave the reader engaged and pondering in these subtle and engrossing stories."
--Jaswinder Gundara, MultiCultural Review, June 2001
"These stories are selected from the later years of Das's prolific output, and they feature aging characters desperately wanting not to be just one of the inevitable Indian crowd. In discovering their uniquely ordinary humanity, they also allow a touch of religious grace into rational, agnostic lies or find a human application for the consolations of religiosity. Not for the impatient reader, the stories nonetheless repay attention with their finely modulated explorations of middle-class, post-middle-age desires and delusions."
--Paul Sharrad, University of Wollongong, World Literature Today, Winter 2001
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