Book Review of Dangling Gandhi by Jayanthi Sankar
A spectacular bouquet of a dozen stories travelling across time and space through colourfully multicultural contexts. The nonlinear narrative style helps the reader flow with the kaleidoscopic presentation of events. – Dr Lalitha Menon, retd Professor and HOD, Calicut, India The stories are aptly published while we celebrate Singapore’s Bicentennial. ‘Punkah Wallah’, a delightful fiction worth re-visiting brings to life the different classes of our society, origins, cultures and how they functioned during the earliest days of the last century. ‘Did Churchill know?’ left me pleasantly surprised, shocked, and bemused. – Angela Leong, Director of a Research firm, in Singapore Thoroughly enjoyed the short stories, finding them gripping and touching, with unexpected little twists. On my second reading, with real concentration, I found them even more interesting. They made me think more, and that is a good thing! – Valerie Dümpelmann, EFL instructor, Germany … is not only a story of how different generations relate to literature. A brilliant short story emblematically highlights many of the problems that characterize Tamil literature as a set of social practices in Singapore today. – Sascha Ebeling, Associate Professor, University of Chicago, USA These short stories talk about human sensitivities hidden in the lives of common people of different lands, and flavours. They awaken the reader to the profoundness of seemingly undramatic incidents with an insight into historical events and their impact on people of different generations. – N. Srinivasan, Senior Engineer, Chennai, India Humans and flies are in no way different as far as Nature is concerned but look at how the human has made his life to be! – Liu Fang, a senior freelance English tutor, Hong Kong
“A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.”-Mahatma Gandhi.
Powerful words from one of the most powerful men in Indian History. Today, as I finished reading my latest “Dangling Gandhi” by Jayanthi Sankar, I see how much impact he has over the minds of people all over the world even today, years after he battled and successfully got India its’ freedom from the Britishers. He continues to be present in our lives even today, through not only his words, but his presence in the simplest walks of our daily lives.
As intriguing as you might be, reading the title of my book in review today, Dangling Gandhi by Jayanthi Sankar, let me tell you guys that this one is no political title, rather it is a collection of 12 endearing short stories, encapsulating those tiny emotions which even though trivial, are important, set against the backdrop of Yester year’s colonial Singapore.
Dangling Gandhi, the term in fact comes from one of its short stories, where the protagonist happens to be having a Gandhi figurine dangling at the front view mirror of his vehicle, hence the name ‘Dangling Gandhi’.
Each story in this riveting, heartwarming read is set in a niche of its own, portraying commonplace incidents and happenings that transpire during the usual, ordinary course of our daily lives. However, having said that each has a very significance attached in the form of a takeaway which will compel you, even after you finish reading them, for a long period of time to look back and mull upon these teachings Jayanthi has imparted through these little nuggets.
Be it ‘Did Churchill Know?’, a hard-hitting realization of sorts, or even ‘ Punkah Wallah’ each and every piece of writing in this amazing ensemble only surprises one with its eloquence and captivating narrative.
It is not always easy to pull off the ordinary bits of daily life happenings, highlight them through writing, putting them across for readers to muse upon and learn from. But, her writing skills being honed in this particular skill, Jayanthi, yet again manages to do so in the most enthralling manner.
I have always sincerely felt that for new readers or those new to reading in particular, short stories are always the first ideal choice to be turned onto, thanks to their crisp, short narrative. Through this endeavour, Jayanthi has captured the originality as well the absurdity of life in a pretty colourful manner, her depictions being kaleidoscopic and her characters being seamlessly woven into the tales.
Seldom, do you come across a storyteller, whose characters speak and breathe for themselves? Jayanthi manages to create such ones with these stories, wowing the audiences to the core.
A well-compiled collection of short stories.
I have read other works by the same Author Jayanthi Sankar and I must say I am pretty impressed with the spectrum of her writing. From highlighting the plight of the Devadasi system right from its inception in “Misplaced Heads” to take us through an enchanting as well as the enlightening journey of the history of Singapore in “Tabula Rasa”, she infuses fiction with hardcore, well researched, exhaustive facts which add on to the value as well as the reading content of the title. Her writing is not only informative but she also ensures that fact combines with fiction in a pretty convincing manner, giving exhaustive depictions of the world she creates, the characters she gets to life, through her writing.
Well done, Jayanthi.
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