Books

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We Should All Not Be Feminists: A Novel

This novel makes a distinction between genuine and fake feminism through a story set in India and America. Not every feminist is involved in a labour of love. Some are driven by the quest for power just as some are drawn to it because it indicates the right path to take in the contemporary world. This novel moves on laughter and tears making the reader see how closely the two are allied. There’s love, hate, politics and hilarity. And, yes, there’s the magic of India; a magic that springs out of reality. One looks back at past births that continue to grip and control people’s desires and actions.

Saba & Nisha: A Love Story

This novella is Lakshmi Raj Sharma’s most recent book of fiction. Saba is a child of nature. Her Muslim mother, Meher, has had accidents in life, the first of which is finding a lover in a man whose religion she does not know and then falling into the steep space at the edge of the river with him, in heavy rain, where there is scarcely space enough for the two to stand; they couple together as though driven into the act by Nature. But then, Meher’s lover is forced into marrying his neighbour, the wily, Mohini who has falsely accused him of having used her, when she has been with someone else’s child. Meher and Saba live in seclusion, hiding from people as much as is possible. Saba joins an English course at the Allahabad University where she finds a companion in Nisha. The two girls are poles apart. Saba is all grace and concern; Nisha is self-centred and fashionable. In the university bank the two girls are brought face to face with the dashing Rahul, who has a blackout and faints. Saba helps him and thus begins the story of how the two begin to like the same man. It is here that the love story begins and proceeds to the point where Rahul finally manages to get one of them through a series of events that make this novella a literary thriller.

Intriguing Women (Short Story Collection)

Intriguing Women is Lakshmi Raj Sharma’s third work of fiction. After the success of his debut novel The Tailor’s Needle and his first book of short stories Marriages Are Made In India, Sharma published a second, masterly collection of stories about women in all their infinite – and intriguing – variety. Male readers may learn something useful too… The stories have international and Indian settings. We visit Europe, we travel to Afghanistan and we celebrate the rich variety of the Indian continent. These are women who may seem superficially normal, but might not be, and women who strive for normality at all costs. Sharma also raises questions; can a woman reconcile herself to terrorism? How do we react to a woman who kills several of her husbands? Definitions of femininity are examined and magnified through the prism of fiction. We meet women who despite years of oppression, are smart enough to ride the 21st century successfully, while others are left behind, unable to handle the complexities of modern life. These stories report, reflect and examine the feminine nature. What is it like to be born a woman, most particularly an Indian woman? Intriguing stories indeed. Readers have pointed out that the stories are like movies one sees before one’s eyes. They are very suited to film-adaptation.

The Tailor's Needle

The Tailor’s Needle was first published in Great Britain and then by Penguin Books India. Cambridge-educated Sir Saraswati Chandra Ranbakshi is a towering public figure in early twentieth century India. A firm believer in the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, he also has faith in the virtues of the British Raj. As a result, he has to mediate between the Maharaja of a princely state and the Viceroy and strike a fine balance between tradition and modernity. This tussle between old and new values is reflected in his three children, the daredevil Maneka, the timid Sita, and their brother, Yogendra, who turns their father’s world upside down by falling in love with a lower-caste girl. A comedy of manners laced with intrigue and excitement, The Tailor’s Needle explores some of the great moral dilemmas of pre-independent India with wit and sensitivity.

Marriages Are Made in India (Short Story Collection)

This is Lakshmi Raj Sharma’s first collection of short stories of various categories but most of them are humorous. These have been published as an e-book by the American publisher, Publerati.com. This collection has stories that either lead to marriage or fall short of it and therefore are either basically comic or tragic. In this book, Sharma has picked out a number of odd, gawky characters and looked at them from the inside. The psychological nature of these stories makes them very absorbing. We visit a number of quaint places in India as tourists, visiting the Indian psyche and meeting people we would probably meet in the odd, less frequented lane of small town India. Some stories take us to the community of Anglo-Indians, people that are fascinating and unique in their ways. Another shows the psychology of women who live as wives to in patriarchal setups. This fine collection of short stories shows what a master can do when writing in one of our most important forms of fiction, the short story. The entire collection hangs together in mood and theme and will be the source of much entertainment for readers eager to voyage through India from their e-book.