Book by its Cover: A Narrow Lane and &Other Stories
A Narrow Lane & Other Stories by debut author Saadia Azim is a collection of twelve contemporary short stories that deal with India's present-day contentious issues
Post by JASIM MOHAMMAD on Friday, May 5, 2023
Recently, I picked a low-key book from Amazon just by its cover. Some friends and celebrities I follow have recommended it. One of them was Super 30 founder Padamshree Anand Kumar who gave all the more reason to read it. As it turns out, A Narrow Lane & Other Stories by debut author Saadia Azim is a collection of twelve contemporary short stories that deal with India's present-day contentious issues. The book takes readers on a journey through the lives of people during communal riots, the disruptions in a stable society with the killing of an ordinary man, love and anguish in times of religious hatred in a country, and more.
One of the most impressive aspects of the book is the way it highlights the apolitical aspects of critical issues in a fast-paced and sharp descriptive style. The stories generate curiosity and engage readers with exciting reflections on society. Several stories depict the everyday injustices, prejudices, and inequalities of ordinary lives.
In "One Day in December," the author tells the story of little Asifa and her struggles while living under the flyover in a city, overcoming grief and loss. "The Refugee Colony" is the story of young Rana, born and living in an unauthorized settlement. The stories are heartbreaking but also serve as a wake-up call for society to acknowledge and address the issues the marginalized sections face.
Saadia Azim previously worked as a Culture and Policy Specialist at the U.S. Mission in India. She is now working full-time for the Government of West Bengal and has done an exceptional job with this collection of stories. Her experiences span over two decades of fieldwork in rural India as a journalist. It is also her professional management degree from the Chicago Booth School of Business that has helped her create stories that are both impactful and relatable.
The author's writing style is excellent and engaging, and the characters she has created are well-developed and realistic. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the issues faced by the people of India and how it affects their everyday lives.
Overall, I feel that A Narrow Lane & Other Stories is a thought-provoking collection of stories that offer a glimpse into the realities of India's social fabric. The author has crafted informative and enjoyable stories, making it a highly recommended read.
(The Author is Professor in Comparative Literature, AUS, Namsai, Arunachal Pradesh)