White Dancing Elephants
WINNER, NARRATIVE MAGAZINE "TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK" FOR 2017
A woman grieves a miscarriage, haunted by the Buddha’s birth. An artist with schizophrenia tries to survive hatred and indifference in small-town India by turning to the beauty of sculpture and dance. Orphans in India get pulled into a strange “rescue” mission ...more
4.5 ⭐ Full review:
It's frustrating when a book, for the time you spent with it, completely captured your mind, had you reading and re-reading, but when t ...more
CW: Miscarriage, violence, rape, infidelity
White Dancing Elephants is Chaya Bhuvaneswar’s powerful debut collection of short stories, which won the 2017 Dzanc Short Story Collection Prize. Collecting 17 stories, this volume puts women of color, especially South Asian women in the diaspora, at the center.
These are stories about pivotal moments in women’s lives. These are stories about women in the diaspora, women ...more
Intense, frequently brutal but also touching and poetic stories. There's a bit too much repetition in theme here to balance the collection but overall this is very fine and Bhuvaneswar displays a strong, convincing voice. I look forward to reading more from her.
but written in a way that gives grounding and stability to the experiences. the first one shattered me and to be honest, i'm not sure if I felt the full impact of the rest of the book because of how hard it hit me. I am cer ...more
Chaya writes from the South Asian/Indian American identity and also has stores set in England - the ideas of fetishism in romantic love, the unique problems of same sex attraction for this community, and death/loss are all important themes.
The opening story is an amazing example of second person, and the last three stories are just fantastic writing.
Each story came with multiple layers that weaves through my psychological, political, emotional, and moral boundaries and I enjoy everything it reveals about me through these characters and their circumstances.
These stories often revolve around loss, abuse and identity and the range of stories in the volume means these themes are visited from different directions and through different eyes. There are missing parents, siblings, lost children and abuse as well as missed (or simply, not taken) turns in lif ...more
'She’s probably my age, I realize suddenly, early forties, but she has not spent her life on mistakes.'
This collection of stories by Chaya Bhuvaneswar is about more than being an immigrant or one’s ethnicity, it is also about feminism and LBGTQ women. From the start, the reader is on an emotional journey, living as long as it takes to read a story on the character’s breath. It begins with White Dancing Elephants, where a woman shares the afterma ...more
I was jolted wide awake
And I was mighty impressed.
After reading one fantasy too many this year, Chaya Bhuvaneswar’s anthology of short stories gave me a dose of reality I didn’t know I needed.
‘White Dancing Elephants’ tells you stories of all that makes us turn our faces the other way.
Stories of dread, bitterness, jealousy, violence, loneliness, hopelessness, desperation…..stories that urge you to accept the darkest par ...more
I vividly remember the day I walked into a dissection hall. The formalin-scented hallway, the air almost metallic blue with a tinge of yellow. I remember walking slowly, taking calculated steps towards a twin door that was reflecting my own dazed self back at me. Getting past that door didn't help either. The sight of strangers mobbed around a stainless steel table brought some momentary relief (not everything was dead around here). ...more
It is about girls and ladies who have their soul in India ( South India) and bodies in other countries mainly US.
The peculiarities of a traditional soul baking into heat of the changed environment, where non compatibilities surface and haunt protagonists. These females face different hurdles and vaccums which they try ...more
White Dancing Elephants is an excellent collection of short stories, a book that is truly beautiful. Each story is a vivid picture of how lives intertwine and the love and pain inflicted through those overlaps. Each is beautiful whatever else the story may be: painful, grotesque, heart-breaking, resonant, poignant, reflective, familiar, foreign, breathtaking, etc. Bhuvaneswar's stories are so imbibed with life, all the light and all the darkness of true lives being lived, they don't feel like...more