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In a Forest, a Deer: Stories by Ambai

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Ambai, one of the finest modern Tamil short-story writers, is much read, discussed and written about, and loved for the wit, innovative story-telling, and lyrical grace of her writing.
Breaking traditional modes of expression in terms of language and content, In a Forest, a Deer recounts the saga of Tangam Athai, whose husband remarried because she could not bear him a chi
Paperback, 220 pages
Published May 4th 2012 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2000)
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It's rare that I give a book of short stories five stars. This one is a cohesive whole. Beautifully translated from Tamil by Lakshmi Holmstrom, Ambai's stories are gentle but astute slices of Indian life. There is a fierce feminism & egalitarianism in her work, attentive to social injustice. Brimming with references to Tamil culture and Indian epics and myths. Lovingly rendered natural landscapes. Generous and compassionate in its depiction of humanity. ...more
Trilok Jain
In a Forest, a Deer - a collection of short stories published by Ambai over ten years in different magazines - are slices from ordinary lives. Some go deep while some are a little spread out in time. The protagonist of the stories are women and most of the stories have some aspects of cognition towards injustice baked into them. Some truth that we see every day but not necessarily reflect on, the way some of the characters have done in these stories.
Lakshmi Holmstrom has been a fantastic transla
Anand Ganapathy
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ourlibrary
CS Lakshmi, who writes under the pen name of Ambai is one of the best Tamil short story writers. And this collection is no different.Special mention ought to be made of the stories 'wrestling' and 'in a forest a deer'. To convey the exact thoughts of the original work during translation is tough; one needs a sensitive translator like Lakshmi Holmstrom ( who died recently) to do due justice. Read this as a tribute to Holmstrom whose death is a big loss to the world of Tamil literature. ...more
A collection of short stories, and my first read of the author. I have heard about her, more so her sharp words, and read this without much of an expectation, in fact zero.

But the stories, her language, the ease with which she uses her words, literally like swords, sharp ones at that, the cuts are so swiftly made like a master craftsman, cuts deep, and moves on to the next target without much fanfare. Also she presents a honest view instead of the general one, and keeps it all crisp.

Simply amaze
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a Forest, a Deer is a collection of short stories written by famed writer Ambai, translated from Tamil by Lakshmi Holmstrom. I had been intrigued by the writer with this beautiful nom de plume for a long time. And this book came to me as a Christmas gift from a dear friend.
The book is a collection of eighteen interesting stories. I dived into the stories headlong, deliberately without reading any of the introductory notes. With new authors, I usually like to do the ‘discoveries’ myself. And
Arunachalam Bharathi
A cllection of short stories...This is turning out to be a very interesting read.. especially because of the fact that several stories refer to songs in Carnatic music. This and the fact that woman are protagnists in most stories, makes me relate to it immensely. I liked the cosmopolitan approach of the writer, dealing with the heroine of the story living in different locales of India. This brings in the blending of the different cultures of the country, although in thought and mind they all hav ...more
Wonderful collection of stories by Ambai translated from the Tamizh originals by Lakshmi Holmstrom.

I heard about a story called Forest that's part of this collection and is based on the Ramayana. I simply had to read it. Looked for friends with a copy, but finally succumbed when I saw it at the bookstore.

Ambai's stories in this collection are so intrinsically Tamizh in their references, yet there are influences from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Now I intend reading my favourites am
Poorna Rajaraman
Great one! Cant explain more on this one.
A great book, several short stories that I loved, others that I just liked, but none that I did not enjoy. I loved that there were women protagonists, and a gay couple in here.
I am a person who is not a fan of short stories yes (yes i do like short stories by Oscar Wild, O.Henry, and few indian authors like Premchand) and rarely a person to give 5 starts to any book of short story collections. But this book is extremely well written reaching extraordinary heights. Beautifully translated from Tamil, without losing the essence of the original language. All the stories in the book has a touch and essence of Indian life and culture. There is feminism with almost every sto ...more
Vinay Leo
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#2019 #YearInBooks Book 37

A collection of short stories by Ambai originally written in Tamil and translated into English by Lakshmi Holmstrom., "In a Forest, a Deer" was enjoyable because it is writing a story almost like observing a scene from life.

Because it was written so, it was easy to imagine that scene as well. The stories can be enjoyed few at a time and this is because they offer the readers food for thought. The characters are different, quirky, at times in your face. That the author
Vaishali Gupta
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Took to reading this book on strong recommendation from a Tamil prolific reader. So glad I reached out for it.
Beautiful and earthy. Sensitive and yet assertive. Traditional yet revolutionary. That's how the ideas are conveyed across stories.
Specially loved 'wrestling' and 'in a forest, a deer'
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Tamizh book in translation. And it turned out to be such an energizing set of stories. Ambai writes lightly and easily about gender and identity - making the point with little preaching. Some of them hit hard - Forest is a great one, about Sita. And the last one, A movement, a folder, some tears, tackling the Gujarat riots, was my favourite. Ambai has been a great find for me.
Kavitha Buggana
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely little gem of a book. Her style is gentle and deeply compassionate. I was very moved by the title story. Journey 1 was also delicious.
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quite liked the translation, too.
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Ambai is the nom de plume of Dr C.S. Lakshmi, a historian and a creative writer in Tamil who writes about love, relationships, quests and journeys in the Tamil region and elsewhere. Her stories have been translated by Lakshmi Holmstrom in two volumes entitled A Purple Sea and In a Forest, a Deer. Ambai was awarded the Lifetime Literary Achievement Award of Tamil Literary Garden, University of Toro ...more

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