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Title: Moisture Trapped in Stone: An Anthology of Modern Telugu Short Stories

TRANSLATOR COMPILER: K N Rao

PP: 484

PRICE: Rs.595

Publisher: Niyogi Books

The short story as a narrative encapsulates an ethos, a plot, a paradigm that is complete in itself with an ease that is deceptive and tantalising in its flow. This anthology has been very carefully and meticulously gleaned from the rich storehouse that Telugu literature is. Every tale is telling. Every tale is relatable. Every tale is identifiable. Every tale is contemporary. This is where the compilation becomes both compelling and contemplative.

The translation is so complete that one can easily divine the patios of the native language in the context of every circumstance and each anecdote. Almost every facet of human emotion, anticipation and condition, has been clothed in a tale that delineates man’s journey from the cradle to the grave. It is in this, that the compilation makes the decisive score. Every story is a torchbearer of the context it is in relation with. To discern the depth and the impact of each successive narrative is to lay bare the gravity of man’s ephemeral existence. The twenty eight stories in the collection reveal the pathos, the humour, the extent and extant to which man is subject to by design and by chance, by fate and by action in his lifetime.

The eager tentative anticipation of the newly minted groom in the opening story, makes way for the existential angst in the next, leading on to the vagaries of fortune in one, the conspiracy of circumstance in another, where discretion or lack of, intelligence or worldly wisdom, each one works one way or the other to get life by with or without one’s knowledge, or one meaning to do so.

Every tale is different yet every tale touches a chord. One can sense the fragrance of the native earth in each story. This also echoes the very identifiable culture of the region, the language, the customs, the creed and the practices that are atypical of the Telugu heartlands while the spirit of the narrative all through the anthology is a paean to the universal human nature whose temperament, character, personality is the same irrespective of the ethos it is cradled in.

A good read, a better keepsake, a meaningful compilation.



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