What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

If You Are Afraid of Heights
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SOLVED: Adult Fiction > SOLVED. Short stories in modern India (If You Are Afraid of Heights) [s]

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message 1: by Kaion (last edited Feb 18, 2011 06:33PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kaion (kaionvin) | 389 comments I read a collection of short stories all by the same author. They were set in or around a specific modern (and urban- sprawl-y) Indian city and were interconnected by repeating story elements and "images"- one of which was a red .... something or other. I'm pretty sure I remember one story had a scene in which a character was pondering urbanization (or was it globalization) as they saw out the window of a bus/train/trolley passed a park in the city that was undergoing renovation?? I think the park was also recurring.

And one scene in which an older male character was in his drab apartment and looking out onto the terrace, which I think was scene depicted on the cover (which was mostly monochromatic except for a splash of red something, maybe).

I think there was definitely one story which involved a father who was in the bureaucracy or the police or something and had to bribe (or was it blackmail?) lots of people for some reason or another involved with the vast sums needed to throw a wonderful wedding for his daughter. And he sweated a lot.

I think in one story an urbanite visited the countryside (maybe his poor relatives?) and they all slept on the floor.

I'm starting to think I'm mixed up, but I don't read many short stories... anyway I read it at least 2 years ago, but no earlier than 8 years ago, and I think it was fairly new at that time.

message 2: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 108 comments Could it possibly be Swimming Lessons, by Rohinton Mistry? All the characters in that story collection live in the same apartment complex.

message 3: by Kaion (last edited Feb 25, 2010 08:23AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kaion (kaionvin) | 389 comments Swimming Lessons: and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag sounds like a really cool book, but reading the summaries of some of the stories, none of them are ringing a bell. Thank you anyway- I'll see if I can get a hand on a copy this weekend.

I *think* it was more dour tone-wise.

message 4: by Christy (last edited Feb 25, 2010 01:21PM) (new)

Christy | 41 comments Is it possibly Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri?

message 5: by Kaion (last edited Mar 05, 2010 01:26PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kaion (kaionvin) | 389 comments I read the first two stories of Swimming Lessons today, and it's not the one.

I'm pretty sure none of it took place in the US like in Interpreter of Maladies. But I guess I have another book to browse.

I'm sure it's not In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (which is set in Pakistan, but someone on LT suggested it).

message 6: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 108 comments This might be a stretch, but maybe Love and Longing in Bombay, by Vikram Seth? That has a gorgeous vivid cover, though, unless the hardcover is different ... I don't remember a visit to the countryside, but it's veen a few years since I read it.

message 7: by Kate (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 200 comments Amit Chaudhuri's Real Time?

The Red Carpet by Lavanya Sankaran?

Check this list on librarything - books tagged with both "india" and "short stories": http://www.librarything.com/tag/india...

message 8: by Kaion (last edited Mar 17, 2010 08:00PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kaion (kaionvin) | 389 comments Not Love and Longing in Bombay: Stories, because there wasn't a framing device tieing the stories together (and the summaries of the stories don't sound familiar), but that looks good!

I read the first 20 pages or so of The Red Carpet: Bangalore Stories on amazon, but it doesn't sound remotely familiar.

Real Time: Stories and Reminiscence doesn't sound right either by the summaries of the short stories.

message 9: by Laura (new)

Laura | 33 comments Lucky Girl by Nell Freudenberg? Yoga Stories by Maura Moynihan?

Kaion (kaionvin) | 389 comments Most definitely not Lucky Girls or Yoga Hotel: Stories.

message 11: by Cathy (last edited Mar 17, 2010 05:28PM) (new)

Cathy | 108 comments I think it might be Bombay Time by Thrity Umrigar -- it's a novel, but focuses on different characters who all live in the same apartment house (so it might linger in your memory as short stories), and planning a wedding is central to the plot.

message 12: by Kaion (last edited Feb 18, 2011 06:26PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kaion (kaionvin) | 389 comments I think I've found it while I was browsing through my old blog: If You Are Afraid of Heights!

Reviews of the book seem to fit- they mention the repeated motifs ("a crow, a red dress, a brown dog, a house with a balcony that looks like a frown") through the three different stories in the book:

1. A man meets a woman after a freak tram accident (see my bus/trolley ride rememberance) and they are both haunted by an image of a girl in a red dress,

2. A woman visits a village to investigate the rape and murder of a girl found in a canal (this story sounds particularly familiar and fits the sleeping on the floor part)

3. A young girl is afraid her parents will die after a rash of suicides in her neighborhood (the old man and the balcony).

As for the man in need of bribing people to have his daughter's wedding, maybe it's in 3? Or it could be another short story collection I inflated with this one in my mind.

Thanks for all your suggestions everyone.

message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 1382 comments Thanks for letting us know. Sounds interesting!

message 14: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 1382 comments And, thanks for moving and shelving it!

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