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A House Is a Body

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  558 ratings  ·  169 reviews

In two-time O. Henry-prize winner Swamy's debut collection of stories, dreams collide with reality, modernity collides with antiquity, myth with true identity, and women grapple with desire, with ego, with motherhood and mortality. In "Earthly Pleasures," Radika, a young painter living alone in San Francisco, begins a secret romanc
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 11th 2020 by Algonquin Books
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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Amy Imogene Reads
"A dazzling new literary voice" is right—this collection was stunning, hypnotic, and voyeuristic in the best way.

A House Is a Body by Shruti Swamy is a remarkable collection of short stories. Invasive with its characters, unflinching in its portrayals of the modern Indian woman and her experiences. Some of my favorite stories combined India's mythic roots with modern problems, and others told devastating tales of secrecy and loss.

Some of my favorite stories in the collection:

Earthly Pleasures
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-releases
August 14, 2020: A House is a Body is packed with twelve short stories that share a common floor of unavoidable change and the ultimate acceptance of it all as the collection opens doors to many places, perspectives, and possibilities through characters that are dipped in blue.

Consider reading this review over on my blog!

Trigger warnings: grief, depression, sexual assault, loss of loved ones, animal cruelty.

Blindness ★★★★☆

A woman finds herself blinded by the darkness of depression after b
A House is a Body is an intimate collection of stories that explores a range of human emotions, conditions and relationships. It is tender and riveting. The prose is simple yet searing. Even though each story embodied a different soul, together these stories came together to reveal a humanity that is full of beauty, hope and pain.

"She was like hearing your own heartbeat. If you stop for a minute and are entirely still you can hear it. All along she's with you, but you never notice until you thin
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
This novel consists of a collection of several short stories. As I find with most short story collections, some were more intriguing than others. However, in general I found that this book was just 'not for me'. Most of the stories I just did not understand. Throw in some explicit and unnecessary sexual encounters.... BAM you have a thought provoking, emotional story.... nope sorry, your magic did not work for me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Algonquin Books for the opportunity to read this arc in
Anna Avian
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it
If you like short stories you should dive in. Beautifully written. I personally liked more the stories that were rooted in reality and wished that the author had expanded more on them. I didn't connect with the fantasy/mythology ones which felt too abstract and difficult to follow. ...more
lark benobi
Dec 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shruti Swamy writes with precision and clarity and simplicity, about complicated subjects. I really loved that combination. There is a mastery of the short story form here, an almost classical approach to storytelling, that I also loved. My favorite story in the collection was "Didi," which begins with such an insightful back-and-forth scene between a husband and wife, where in spite of nothing much happening between them, an entire world of feeling and momentum has been established by the end o ...more
Everyone, read this short story collection - I don't usually go for short stories in my read and this one really surprised me and I LOVED IT!! A HOUSE IS A BODY was a riveting collection of deep soul searching stories written in a prose so magical I was immersed into this debut.

A collection of twelve stories spanning the globe set between the United States, India and beyond, with each story unique and touching upon important themes about family, parenthood, sisterhood and brotherhood, and most
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sincere thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for providing an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

A House is a Body is an extraordinary collection of twelve stories that sparkle in their depth of sensual darkness. Swamy's debut explores vivid narratives that blur the lines of magical realism and character studies.

Not all of the stories are strong, and some like 'The Siege' and 'Didi' seem out of place, but no less intriguing. Easily the star of this collection is '
Début collection of stories by Shruti Swamy..
Twelve stories that shows loss, love and friendship. I enjoyed some stories. Some stories I couldn’t read to intense.
I want to thank NetGalley, Algonquin Books and Shruti Swamy for this invitation to this Blog Tour with this free arc in exchange of an honest review.
Ann Marie
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You all know I ABSOLUTELY LOVE short stories. Starting August 9th there will be a blog tour for A House is a Body and it can be found on Instagram and Twitter @algonquinbooks and @theshruster! Check it out! Absolutely well worth it and you know I am stingy with my stars! I'm so happy to spread the word on these excellent stories! ...more
A House With No Body is Shruti Swamy’s debut collection of story stories that eerie, fresh, dreamy, a bit dark but overall leaves an impact. There are 12 stories some set in the US and others in India, but all are told from the perspective of a female character.

I am such a huge fan of short story collection for me this is the perfect way for me to read. One book with 12 different experiences and characters. I can explain my love for reading short story collection from high school day and it’s p
Jessica Haider
A House is a Body is a debut short story collection by Shruti Swamy. And what a strong debut it is! These stories are mostly centered around female characters in settings ranging from India to the US. The stand out central commonality between the stories for me was a dreamlike quality. Right now, the one that is standing out in my mind is the titular story, where a young mom is overwhelmed by motherhood and the raging wildfire that is approaching her house.

The stories were all very honest...alm
Never Without a Book
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Where do I begin with these stories? I have tried several times to describe how I feel about this book and to be honest I really don’t know what to say, but what I know is that, Swamy, isn’t afraid of experiment. This collection of twelve stories is very unique, some stories had me captivated while others were puzzling. Shifting between continents and cultures, Swamy, did something I don’t see too often, within a few of these stories I felt like she leaving it up to me, the reader, to complete t ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review soon!
Crystal Hiatt
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully crafted, insightful collection of stories dripping in surrealism.
Her poetic prose and dreamlike imagery pulls you into the stories and holds you captive. Some stories such as 'The Siege' and 'Earthly Pleasures' focus on mythology, others such as 'The Neighbors' and 'A House is a Body' are rooted more in reality, while others such as 'Blindness' blur the lines between reality and fantasy. Each story is unique in its own right, but the underlying theme in them all is tragedy
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-2020
The short stories in this collection brought the author’s appreciation and memories of India vividly to life.

The beautiful use of language in these stories made them so compelling to read. No two stories were similar. They told of memories from childhood, marriage, motherhood, and love. Most of the stories took place in India. Those that did not talked of memories from India. The nostalgia was touching and descriptive.

Of the twelve stories in the collection, “My Brother at the Station,” in which
Aug 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I really struggled to rate this book. While I really liked this author's writing -- it was almost hypnotic in its poetry -- I didn't find myself particularly drawn to many of the stories. I even read several more than once to try and get a deeper handle on what she was saying, but I fear many of these stories will not stay with me very long. I'm finding most of them difficult to remember even the day after finishing this collection.

Out of all the stories, I found Mourners to be one of the few I
W. Benson Cartwright
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic collection, just a stunning debut. Shruti Swamy deals so beautifully with characters who are navigating lives often touched by loss, whether it be of a brother or child, a wife, a sister, or just the loss of a time before they were locked into an oppressiveness, a situation they never imagined. The loss of a time when their lives seemed boundless. Sometimes the grief seems unbearable, as related by one character after losing her son: "I died for a long time. But I opened my eyes and ...more
May 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read this as an ARC.

I felt this short story collection was full of undeveloped good ideas. It is fine to write a really short story, but it felt like these stories were so short just to avoid having to delve deeper into the characters or resolve any issues. The story I liked the best was one of the longer ones and I thought it was really haunting.
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it
A lovely collection of short stories. I am not usually a short story person, I like my stories longer. However I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this book. The stories were confusing at times and sometimes hard to get into but it was a nice read.
Elena L.
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Between India and United States, A HOUSE IS A BODY is a short story collection that, through a mix of reality and mythology, touches issues of family, parenthood, love, identity, helplessness, liberation and grief.

Swamy's writing is infused with Indian culture and I enjoyed learning more while reading these unique stories. They are fun yet at the same time, dark; sometimes exuding intense feelings beneath words and impacting the readers in a different way. I particularly appreciated reading the
I received a copy of this book for review with thanks to Algonquin books.

This is a collection of short stories centred around people's connection with their bodies and the world around them. I found the writing style very interesting yet I feel that it would've flowed slightly better as a physical book rather than an ebook as the point of views, flashbacks and perspectives may have been better demarcated as I found myself getting slightly confused in different slots and spaces. I feel however
Alyson Stone
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Book: A House is A Body
Author: Shruti Swamy
Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Algonquin Books, for providing me with an ARC.

This is a collection of short stories, which was a nice change of pace. Normally, I am a big books reader, so having something a little on the shorter side was great. I loved being able to just sit down and read a couple of these story very quickly. With that being said, there was stories that I loved and ones that I was not a fan of. I’ve never r
Paige Green
Jul 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: A House is a Body

Author: Shruti Swamy

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 3/5

Recommended For...: women’s fiction, short stories

Publication Date: August 11, 2020

Genre: Short Story Compilation

Recommended Age: 17+ (romance, TW sexual abuse mentions/illusions, language)

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Pages: 208

Synopsis: In two-time O. Henry-prize winner Swamy's debut collection of stories, dreams collide with reality, mo
May 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: indian-authors
I had a really hard time staying engaged with this collection of short stories. I found myself just skimming through after the first couple of stories. Maybe it's me and I just don't understand this style of writing, I just found the stories confusing with no obvious plots. I didn't understand what was going on half the time and there were all these sexual scenarios thrown in for no reason that I could see. I'm no prude but they just didn't seem to lend to the stories much. The stories themselve ...more
Jun 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I’ll post that review upon publication.

Updated 8/12/20

3.5 stars

This collection is a mixed bag for me. There are some stories that feel unnecessarily dark (i.e. the purpose is to be morbid/depressing/hopeless), and I had a hard time engaging with the characters and sadness here. On the other hand, there are some stories that handle grief, abuse, loss, and fear in ways that feel resonant and use
Gargee | Sapphire Bubble
Aug 15, 2020 marked it as to-read
15 Aug 2020:
Fanna likes this one and I trust her completely. Also, read that this book is for those who like "modernity, antiquity, morality, mortality, reality", and I do.
Possibly in Michigan, London
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it

'The Laughter Artist' and the title story are the best two stories in here, imo. Although very different in subject, they're both tense and driven by a single idea. I found the other stories - on the themes of motherhood and sexuality - quite meandering and a little bit unfocused. They all have a quite similar, tear-soaked mood, dreamy, abstracted, which could work for some people. Maybe - this is me, being a little averse to very serious themes - the focus on life's Big Moods only really wor
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Read this story collection. These stories cover a lot of ground; Swamy blurs the lines between the fantastical and the mundane to illustrate the all-encompassing need for human connection. Loved the style and restraint; no story goes on even a beat too long. Great read.
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The winner of two O. Henry Awards, Shruti Swamy's work has appeared in The Paris Review, the Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. In 2012, she was Vassar College's 50th W.K. Rose Fellow, and has been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, and Hedgebrook.

She is a Kundiman fiction fellow, a 2017 – 2018 Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State Univer

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