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Thursday 26 April 2012

Lingering Tide and other stories by Latha Vishwanathan

Lingering Tide and other stories by Latha Vishwanathan is a collection of 12 poignant short stories. I am not a big fan of short stories. In fact, I can count on my fingers the number of short story books I have read. The good thing about short stories is that they are short and at times you want to read something short, they come in handy. For that fact, I read short stories real slow, one story at a time.

What the blurb says about the book:

"Fiction. These poignant short stories depict the lives of immigrants through the theme of family adjustments, loss, setting afresh in a new place. Set in suburban Toronto, New Jersey, Texas and India, they draw out the conflicts in three generations of Indians whose lives interconnect even as they straddle the old and the new. What we sense is both the anguish of loss and the thrill of discovery. Viswanathan's quiet prose imparts powerful emotions that ring true and her rendering of cultural clash is truly skilful and nuanced. The depiction of her characters’ interior lives is so full and vital that they breathe and walk off the page. The reader is drawn in and completely absorbed into her world of transitions."

All the stories in the collection have a mystic element to it. They have a lingering feeling, a thoughtfulness and sometimes even a sense of incompleteness. After I read one, I just kept thinking about it. I didn't like all of them or may be I should say, I couldn't connect with all of them. My eyes moistened as I read 'Brittle'. It is a tragic, heart wrenching story that will leave a lump in your throat. I liked Attar, Eclipse and A Couple of Rouges among others. All of them had a different story to tell and the characters were well etched and vivid. I found 'Cool Wedding' sort of funny. It is in the form of a letter which a lady living in the US writes to her friend ranting about her life in the foreign land. It was interesting to see things from the point of the protagonist.

 I found the last 3 stories least appealing. What I find difficult understanding is why the author tries to portray characters who have left their homeland to settle in foreign shore in gloom and doom. Why there is always a feeling of wrong doing on their part?
Some of these stories will put you in self contemplation mode, some you might just forget. I give it a balanced 3/5.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Latha Viswanathan has worked as a journalist, copywriter, editor and teacher in India, London, Manila, Montreal, Toronto and the United States. These stories have appeared in major American literary magazines and won awards. Her work received a grant from the Texas Commission of the Arts in Fiction, was published in Best New Stories from the South and broadcast on National Public Radio. She currently lives and writes in Houston.

I received a free eBook from TSAR publishers for review.

Linking it to the South Asian Challenge

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!


  1. A question for you, did you end up comparing it to Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth? That one too is a collection of short stories about Indian immigrants who don't really fit in even after years of staying abroad.

    1. No, Gauri. I have not read Jhumpa Lahari 's unaccustomed Earth

  2. I have that book too but I will read it after a while. I guess all expat Indian writer tend to write like that.

  3. As I am not a fan of short stories I doubt this would appeal to me although I enjoyed your review. By the way how are you getting on with the A-Z Title Challenge I have not seen any mention of it here.


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