Book Review: Happiness is a Collage by Gita V. Reddy

Happiness is a CollageAbout the Book

This collection of fifteen stories leads the reader into a world that is at once Indian and universal. The stories explore love, life, loss, and relationships.

A painter derives inspiration from a long lost love. Every night after going to bed, a woman scours a vast desert for her missing husband. A young woman strides through two worlds. A son experiences the miracle of his father’s immense love. An actor’s wife struggles to keep her husband from slipping into his reel life. And a busy professional tries to factor in pregnancy and motherhood into her hectic life.  Among those traversing this space are a henpecked billionaire, a homeless boy, a middle-aged wife dealing with infidelity, and a seeker finding solace with a lion and a deer.

Format: ebook (153 pp.)    Publisher:
Published: 4th August 2018            Genre: Short Stories

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My Review

Having read and enjoyed the author’s previous collection of short stories, A Tapestry of Tears, and her book about Catherine Dickens, wife of Charles Dickens, Outside the Magic Circle, I was thrilled when Gita contacted me about reading her new collection of short stories, published today.

As in the author’s previous collection, in these stories modern day India meets traditional India, sometimes coming into conflict, sometimes depicting an intriguing evolution.   A few common themes emerge in the stories, such as: the ties and obligations of family (often encompassing the extended family of cousins and in-laws); the strains of married life; the tension between career and domestic life; the honour and respect due to elders and others.

It’s invariably the case in a short story collection that some of the stories connect more powerfully with the reader than others, and so it was with this collection.  To quote from the story that gives the collection its title, as the narrator’s grandmother observes, when constructing a collage ‘Contrast the dull with the bright’.

Bright points for me included ‘The Search’, in which a daughter has a persistent dream of being reunited with her father, ‘The Gift’, about the possibility for a second chance of happiness, ‘The Vigil’ in which an expectant mother comes to realise there are some things you can’t manage like a business project and ‘Reflection’, in which a chance meeting gives a woman cause to take stock of her life.

There is much to be enjoyed in this collection.  The stories are varied in subject matter, well-written, imaginative and will appeal to those of Indian heritage as well as readers with an interest in Indian culture.   Finally, in case you needed any more encouragement, there are some mouthwatering descriptions of food in many of the stories!

I received an advance review copy courtesy of the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.  Happiness is a Collage is my first book for ARC August (hashtag #arcaugust), hosted by the ladies at ReadSleepRepeat.

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In three words: Thoughtful, introspective, observational

Try something similar…A Tapestry of Tears by Gita V. Reddy (read my review here)

GitaVReddyAbout the Author

Gita V. Reddy is a writer of fiction for middle graders and adults. She enjoys thinking up tales of different genres. She has written mysteries, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, and even an animal tale for children.  She wrote and illustrated her first picture book for kids in August 2015. She plans to write a few more because the experience was very satisfying.

Ms Reddy was born in India, is a post graduate in Mathematics, worked in a bank for twenty-six years, is married to a physics professor, has a son doing research in neuro-electronics, and loves literature. Yes, her life is as mixed up as the multiple genres she writes.

She enjoys painting and spending time with her family, and LOVES walking in the rain.  She also writes under the name Heera Datta.

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