Pulp.net - Review

The Online Home of New Fiction

December 2008

Insects are just like you and me except some of them have wings – Kuzhali Manickavel
Blaft is a new independent publisher based in India, and this extraordinary debut is one of its first titles. Manickavel’s
stories are magical, strange, poetic. Recurrent motifs are of course insects; butterflies, a centipede, beetles, ants, moths and dragonflies are scattered throughout. There are also birds, mouths, food. The stories are so shiny and witty that the core of deep sadness is surprising, but Manickavel often concerns herself with broken people. Her skilful dialogue reveals as much as her vivid imagery; the resulting world that we enter is askew and dreamlike, and yet somehow makes perfect sense. This is a writer with uniquely playful style, enormous likability, and much talent. c195 rupees –Sara Crowley

The White Road – Tania Hershman
The 27 stories collected here are short, but full of feeling. Weather is important, catastrophic, extreme. It rains and the rain causes paralysis, the sun is blinding, lightning strikes. The other recurrent theme is that of being a parent: women who fear for their unborn child, loathe their child, resent them, or mourn the child they cannot have, who will do anything for a baby. Hershman has a talent for concision, and her tiny flash fictions ‘Plaits’ and ‘Go Away’ encapsulate entire relationships in just over a page. A clever, warm and thoroughly recommended debut. c£7 –SC
fictionThe Old Man and The Sea – Ernest Hemingway
One of the best short stories about nature ever. Admittedly by European standards it’s not so very short, but each of its 26,000 or so words unfussily covers its ground and passes the ball to the next in a rhythm that, after a while, is as instinctive as breathing. A plot spoiler would take half a sentence: in fact the six word title goes some way towards providing a synopsis. But it’s not what you tell, it’s the way that you tell it, and the 26 thousand word version is definitely the one to go for. Pick up a copy for under a fiver. – Lane Ashfeldt