Book: In the Convent of Little Flowers
Genre: Collection of Short Stories
Author: Indu Sundaresan
My short review: Heartbreaking stories, very realistic situations and characters, simple but powerful writing, thought provoking and highly enjoyable!
My rating: 5 full stars, of course!
Books by Indian authors are “comfort books” for me. As much as I love being in
Atlanta, I totally miss . I miss jostling my way through crowded streets, sneaking out with my brother and eating on “forbidden” roadside stalls, standing on the balcony on Sunday mornings and figuring out what my neighbors are having for lunch just by the scents relayed to me by the breeze, haggling with hawkers and auto rickshaw drivers, hmm! India
I love reading books set in
– books in which the sights and smells are palpable - books that take me back home. “In the Convent of Little Flowers” was no exception. I totally loved the book! Thanks to the author, Indu Sundaresan, for sending it to me! India
“In the Convent of Little Flowers” is a collection of nine short stories. At the end of the book, Indu has described how she came up with the idea for each of the stories in the book. I found that section very interesting. I was fascinated to read that the idea for each story came from real incidents – incidents that she got to know either through news tidbits, emails, discussion with friends, etc - Events that she pondered about until a new story was born out of it. She fictionalized the news tidbit and created fascinating stories! I cannot do justice to the description of the book. I loved it that much.
Indu Sundaresan is an extremely talented writer. Her characters are very real – so real that you almost feel that you know that in your actual life. She has a fascinating style of writing. You are pulled into the story from the very first line and you cannot put the book down until you’ve read the very last. And when you are done reading the last story, it only makes you sad because you want to keep reading more!
The stories are all about Indians and most of the stories are set in
. In each story, there is a clash between the culture, customs and traditions being followed in India for generations and the new ideals that are slowly seeping into the minds of youngsters these days. Each story is very unique in its own way. Some were emotional, some horrifying, and one totally scandalous! India
The stories evoked very strong responses in me. I was on the verge of tears when I read “Three and a half seconds”. It was heartbreaking to read about an abusive son who ill treats his meek and hardworking parents. In yet another story, I could almost feel the Peon’s shame when his beautiful daughter has a child out of wedlock. And when I read about the village where a child was not only forced to marry an old man but also jump into his funeral pyre to show her dedication towards him, I wanted to run there and throttle the necks of her parents!
I really enjoyed this book. I just cannot find the words to describe how much I liked it. One reason I really enjoyed the book was because of the setting. The stories were set in places that were familiar to me. I could relate to the emotions of the people and their thought processes. Having grown up in India I have felt the internal dilemma between behaving according to traditions and following your mind to do what seems appropriate in today's world. Indu beautifully brings out the clash in her stories.
I am not sure if someone who’s never been in
would be affected the same way I was while reading the book. I’d be curious to see how they’d see the book. Have you read the book? I would love to hear your thoughts! India
Haven’t read this book? I would totally recommend you to grab a copy of this one!