Book Name: The Wait And Other Stories Author: DAMODAR MAUZO
Rating – 3.5 🌟
After a long time, I am back with the book review section. The second half of my last year went about in a haze. Too much faltering at other fronts distro fed me from my reading goals as well as writing. But, here we are, a new year, a new day and I am back to doing what I love most – reading and talking about books. And I start the year with the first book for 2023. This was long pending. Maybe I took the Wait in the literal sense.
About the author:
The author DAMODAR MAUZO is a short story writer, novelist, critic, and scriptwriter who lives in Goa and writes in Konkani. He received India’s highest literary honor, the Jnanpith Award, in 2021. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983, for his novel Karmelin, and the Vimala V. Pai Vishwa Konkani Sahitya Puraskar in 2011, for his novel Tsunami Simon.
About the book
I chose this book because I love short stories and the author profile was intriguing.
The stories represent the richly diverse and cosmopolitan reality of contemporary Goa. I have never really read many stories set in the holiday haven and have never visited the much-acclaimed place too. So for me, it was a fresh setting that drew me.
What worked for me
Away from the glitz and glamour of Goa, the stories are about people, their lives, and idiosyncrasies. In the book, the setting emerges as a place beyond its seascapes and monuments, where people lead regular lives with dreams, heartbreaks, and tragedies, succumbing and triumphing over their struggles. It was a revelation to get a glimpse of Goa, the people who call it their home, and their culture.
Like in all short story collections of anthologies, a few may be extraordinary, and a few not so much. In this book too some stories were brilliant while some did not entice me so much.
While I mention the stories that I loved, the first one would be Yasin, Austin, Yatin. This in my opinion was the best story of the lot. In the story a cab driver tailors his identity to every client to win them over and gain big tips: “He had learned by experience that by making use of religion and caste card, he could win anybody’s heart.” Well, that was a subtle one.
Another one that tucks your heart is the story “Burger” when a beef burger causes tension between two innocent friends of a different religions.
The socio-political situation in the recent history of the country reflects in Goa’s shifting dynamic of languages and religions and becomes prominent in the story “It’s Not My Business.” The protagonist lives with the mantra, “I do not interfere in anybody’s affairs. It’s not my business.” But what happens when the fire reaches your home? Loved this story too.
Also, this being a job of translation, the translator Xavier Cota does deserve a mention for his modest work of translation that made the stories feel naturally written in English but rich in its Indian flavor.
What did not work for me –
The too much clarity in the ending. While I love close-ended stories, all the stories were too neatly tied up at the end almost defying the definition of short stories. As Rabindranath Tagore has said, “shesh hoye hoilo na shesh” (it ended, yet it did not), a short story can leave an enduring impression on our psyche. Most of the stories did not have a long-lasting effect.
A few stories in this anthology that didn’t work for me at all. The Wait story had an unexpected ending(not in a good way) and another story Was Waiting For You was also not that impressive.
Overall this well-written collection is an amalgamation of a plethora of human emotions, and socio-political situations and encompasses the spirit of Goa.
Please get the book at Amazon
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