The Riverside Man and Other Short Stories
Author: Murthy KVVS.
Review by: Ved Prakash
Here is a book of short stories which not only regales the readers with its earthy and modest stories but also compels them to sit back and contemplate.
A couple of common threads that run through all the eleven stories are quite conspicuous. Firstly, the settings of the stories are those of small-town India and remote, far-off Indian villages. Secondly, at the end of each story, the readers are left with some food for thoughts, quite typical of the Indian way of storytelling.
Murthy’s prose is lucent, made up of unadorned, taut sentences and sprinkled with moments of literary delights. The writing is such that it hasn’t resorted to much digressions that make the book a swift read. Its swiftness and economy of words make it accessible to a large body of readers.
The thematic canvas of this work is rich and diverse. The stories address the human condition and its bearings upon the lives of humans. Many of the stories are centred around a pilgrim town of Bhadrachalam. A faint flavour of R K Narayan lurks in the stories. While “Missing of an Old Women” throws light on the regressive attitude of society towards mental disorders, stories like “Dantewada” and “Rajnikant” very quietly deal with how a community’s fate is affected by the avarice and sloth of its political class.
The enchantments of memory is also among its many themes inspiring a couple of stories like “Memorabilia” and “A Burial Ground and Memories”.
“A Boulder In the Stream” grapples with how a dysfunctional family could distort someone’s childhood and eat away at his/her humanistic sensitivities. The very first story “The Guest Obsessed” takes up the issue of Human-Animal cohabitation. It could be a gateway to explore the possibilities of sustainable living.
As this is his first fictional venture in English, Murthy KVVS has made a fine attempt at sharing his own experiences with the readers, employing a language which lulls them into a world of ideas, insights and delights.
Ved Prakash is a student of PGDJ(English) of IIMC, Dhenkanal, Odisha.