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Roots and Meanderings — A Collection of Ten Fresh, Engaging Fictional Narratives

January 24, 2015 | By

“The delightful collection of short stories in Roots and Meanderings has a very striking resonance to the name of its title… an interesting blend of ordinary, everyday experiences of our mundane surroundings told with simplicity and earnestness and haunting, riveting narratives marked with subtle, poetic and also cinematic style of narration. ”
Roots and Meanderings – Learning and Creativity Anthology of Selected Short Stories is now out in Kindle Edition on Amazon. A special foreword and review by Lopa Banerjee.

Foreword and Review
Roots and Meanderings

Learning and Creativity Anthology of Selected Short Stories
Now available in Kindle Edition on Amazon

Roots and Meanderings_amazon

The short story as an art in English literature has traversed a very interesting, dynamic journey, starting from the oral storytelling traditions of the 17th Century to the classic, timeless tales of the prolific European authors of the 20th Century including Guy De Maupassant, Anton Chekov, to the dreamy, symbolic, idiosyncratic fictional world of Somerset Maugham, O Henry, James Joyce, William Faulkner and Katherine Mansfield. Following the Second World War, the form, widely known as literary short fiction, has flourished in the pens of a delectable variety of fiction writers in the United States including the feminist authors Flannery O Conner, Tilley Olsen, Alice Munroe and also the phenomenal Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, all of whom are considered masters of this eclectic form of modern prose.

To me, the discovery of the gift of a short story happened at a tender age while in high school as I entered the world of O Henry, the wonderful inroads of the protagonist’s inner journey depicted by Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali and Munshi Premchand in Hindi (though I got to know his short stories only through English translation). The literary form never fails to fascinate me with its verbal odyssey of the human mind, the construction of an entire world surrounding him that becomes meaningful with the quirky turns and twists of the plot, which the author’s narration strengthens in the course of barely a few pages.

I had been introduced to Learning and Creativity, the wonderful online resource of literature, arts, films, music and humanities only a few months back through Antara Nanda Mondal, the editor who spearheads all the creative contributions in the portal. Within this short span of time, I have been amazed by the diversity, the fresh, innovative perspectives of the writers and contributors of the portal with which they lend their voices on a wide variety of subjects under the wide gamut of art and creativity.

Only a few days back, I have had the opportunity to read ten fresh, engaging, lucid, poignant literary voices that came together to form Roots and Meanderings, the first short story collection/anthology that has been carefully, lovingly collated by the editorial board of L&C. Reading the individual stories of the collection has been an extremely gratifying experience for me, while on my way I have happily discovered stories of love, hope, faith, loss, victory and surrendering, depicted by fresh, aspiring and accomplished Indian writers in English from diverse levels and backgrounds. The stories have been chosen keeping in mind the simplicity and beauty of the narration, and also the dissenting thoughts and experimental writing styles that characterize some of the narratives.

The delightful collection of short stories in Roots and Meanderings has a very striking resonance to the name of its title. A potpourri of themes ranging from the loss of a beloved or spouse to the discovery of a new relationship to the myriad little sacrifices of a mother to the revelations of the unnoticed wellspring of love, the stories here meander through diverse roads, even venturing outside of the bend. Yet at the end, all of them are deeply rooted in the depth and beauty of the universal human consciousness.

The stories in the collection are an interesting blend of ordinary, everyday experiences of our mundane surroundings told with simplicity and earnestness and haunting, riveting narratives marked with subtle, poetic and also cinematic style of narration. In Shahana Roy’s ‘B 47/3 Gulabganj’, Beena Raghavan’s ‘My Elongated Shadow’, Sunil Guri’s ‘The Summers I Remember’, I experienced the everyday world around us presented in its natural, unassuming ambience and simplicity, yet the narratives progress to unfold subtle greater human truths told with commendable spirit. The plots and the settings are thus thematically very real and down to earth, yet coated with an essential, honest, implicit truth or epiphany.

Also, in Gitanjali Maria’s ‘Mom, For You and You Alone’, we have a simple, moving tale of hope shining against hope, where the selflessness, patience and empathy of a mother for her differently abled son forms an intense, nurturing bond unparalleled by anything in the world. On the other hand, there are the more poetic, subtle representations like Kaartikeya Bajpai’s ‘Mirror, Mirror on the Street’, where the protagonist’s physical wanderings in various destinations of the city is actually a metaphorical journey of his relationship with his past and also the journey of discovering his newly attained sense of self, following a devastating personal tragedy.

In Paulami Dattagupta’s story ‘When the Bamboo Flowered’, a rustic tale with a haunting, folkloric storytelling unfolds the lives of two star-crossed lovers in an old, feudal setting. The characters, images and settings in these two stories effectively bring the emotions to life, springing right off the page.

In the final analysis, I would want to felicitate the editor Antara Nanda Mondal for compiling this beautiful collection of stories, some told by fresh, promising narrators and the others by the more experienced, articulate ones. The raw, unsettling fervor of the new voices complement the finesse and subtlety of their more accomplished counterparts, while together, the writers and their stories form a beautiful mosaic of human emotions in myriad colors, shades and manifestations.

Hope and wish the collection receives the attention and readership it truly deserves!

Roots and Meanderings Learning and Creativity Anthology of Selected Short Stories (FB)

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Lopamudra (Lopa) Banerjee is an author, editor, poet and writing instructor staying in Dallas, Texas with her family, but originally from Kolkata, India. She has a Masters in English with thesis in Creative Nonfiction from University of Nebraska and also Masters in English from University of Calcutta, India. Apart from writing and editing some critically acclaimed books and being awarded with the Reuel International Prize for Poetry (2017) and for Translation (2016), she has dabbled in all genres of writing, from journalism and content writing to academic essays and fiction/poetry. She has been interviewed in various e-zines, literary blogs and also at TV (Kolkata) and at radio stations in Dallas, Texas. Very recently, she has been part of the upcoming short film 'Kolkata Cocktail', a docu-feature based on poetry, but her love for writing feature stories go back to her journalism days when she interviewed people from all walks of life and wrote essays and articles based on them. She loves performing poetry as spoken words art and has performed in various forums in India and USA.
All Posts of Lopamudra Banerjee

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