Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Karma and Other Stories (P.S.)
Multigenerational and international, the characters in Reddi's unique stories long for the comfort of the past while building unfamiliar and friable new lives in America. Finding the right balance between traditional Indian culture and the allure of contemporary Western life becomes a high-stakes juggling act -- a gamble that they can't always win.
A contentious septuagenarian reunites with a childhood friend after an unlikely argument threatens to erase decades of history; a 15-year acquaintance with the town's librarian tempts a middle-aged housewife to consider the unthinkable; a young, assimilated college student condemns her best friend for consenting to an arranged marriage; a widow flees her son's comfortable American life and returns to the village of her birth; a young husband and father finds success disappointingly elusive and spends his days on Boston's wintry streets, rescuing injured birds.
Proud, lonely, despairing, and hopeful, Reddi's characters and the stories that surround them not only animate the struggle between tradition and a new way of life but also bear witness to the common ground we all share. That Reddi is able to transcend the confines
of immigrant literature, choosing instead to examine the universal themes of love, loss, family, and duty, marks Karma and Other Stories as a resonant and gifted debut.
(Summer 2007 Selection)