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Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India

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In India, the life of women has never been easy by any stretch of the imagination. Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India brings their eternal struggles to a new audience by engaging the subject head-on through the eyes of young women in the 21st century. Western audiences may have assumed that such considerations as dowries, arranged marriage, and abuse of spouses, ser In India, the life of women has never been easy by any stretch of the imagination. Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India brings their eternal struggles to a new audience by engaging the subject head-on through the eyes of young women in the 21st century. Western audiences may have assumed that such considerations as dowries, arranged marriage, and abuse of spouses, servants, and the elderly would be tempered in the age of social media. "Fans of Masterpiece's Indian Summer and the stories of Ruskin Bond will welcome this female perspective on modern-day Indian life. These short stories are full of epiphanies and restrictions that remind one of James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield's work and show how little the human experience changes, despite cultural differences." -- Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and award-winning author of Narrow Lives and The Best Place


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In India, the life of women has never been easy by any stretch of the imagination. Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India brings their eternal struggles to a new audience by engaging the subject head-on through the eyes of young women in the 21st century. Western audiences may have assumed that such considerations as dowries, arranged marriage, and abuse of spouses, ser In India, the life of women has never been easy by any stretch of the imagination. Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India brings their eternal struggles to a new audience by engaging the subject head-on through the eyes of young women in the 21st century. Western audiences may have assumed that such considerations as dowries, arranged marriage, and abuse of spouses, servants, and the elderly would be tempered in the age of social media. "Fans of Masterpiece's Indian Summer and the stories of Ruskin Bond will welcome this female perspective on modern-day Indian life. These short stories are full of epiphanies and restrictions that remind one of James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield's work and show how little the human experience changes, despite cultural differences." -- Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and award-winning author of Narrow Lives and The Best Place

30 review for Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India

  1. 5 out of 5

    Norma Iris

    Dear Ankita Sharma and Goodreads Community, I finished the most inspiring book of short story collection that ever graced a reader's heart! Today, I cried for a fictional child that exists everywhere, in truth, around the world but fictional to a world closed to that truth in one story - "Lunch Boxes" - which depicts a little girl's dream of an education but limited by her circumstances is left to a world of acceptable slavery. Every short story in Ankita Sharma's "Swati's Marriage and Other Tale Dear Ankita Sharma and Goodreads Community, I finished the most inspiring book of short story collection that ever graced a reader's heart! Today, I cried for a fictional child that exists everywhere, in truth, around the world but fictional to a world closed to that truth in one story - "Lunch Boxes" - which depicts a little girl's dream of an education but limited by her circumstances is left to a world of acceptable slavery. Every short story in Ankita Sharma's "Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India" leaves the reader with a desire for self-examination and to some of familiar experiences. After reading "Lunch Boxes," the last short story, I held the book close to my bosom and cried - I wanted that little girl to be mine. To go and find her, and bring her to a good home. In just two pages, this little girl was speaking to us. She was sharing her dream with us, and I wanted to help her achieve that dream. That is what Ankita Sharma has done in her writing with Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India! Don't let this Gem shine in a vault, unappreciated, but bring it out to shine in your hearts, and in your minds. Yes! And go find a little girl, from a country that favors the male child, and send that little girl books, pencils, dictionaries and everything she needs to make her dreams come true. I remain, Sincerely, Norma Iris Note: This was my initial review: I am well surprised! A tiny book of 40 pages of life! Here, in these short stories, I found a father stepping up to rescue a newly married daughter (A Happy Marriage); a neighbor realizing a son's and daughter-in-law's deep betrayal of Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother!--especially in their old age (Birthday); A dying mother's wish and last mother's advice for her young son soon to be in the hands of a viper! And more! This little book by Ankita Sharma has left me wanting more surprises that I'll soon find contained between the covers. Some may say the stories are sad but when you look deeper, the reader will find an affinity with the characters and reflect on some past experiences of their own - as I did. I am still smiling kudo's to (The Return Gift) that will leave even the most serious of us - well, laughing! How the heroine of this story realizes that she is a pearl, important and worth the love of a good man...and after realizing this...pays the man in only pure poetic justice-One For Womanhood, Ladies! But, again, I still have to finish this little BIG gem and will give no more spoilers! I remain, Sincerely, Norma Iris

  2. 4 out of 5

    W.C. Clinton

    This collection of 11 stories, which range from two to five pages each, provide glimpses into the lot of women in modern India. Often a young female protagonist struggles against traditional thinking or behavior. Just as often as not, older women champion the traditional thinking in scolding tones whereas the men in the stories are often removed from any discussion of gender roles, acting through assumptions rather than being overtly argumentative. The effects of social class on relationships be This collection of 11 stories, which range from two to five pages each, provide glimpses into the lot of women in modern India. Often a young female protagonist struggles against traditional thinking or behavior. Just as often as not, older women champion the traditional thinking in scolding tones whereas the men in the stories are often removed from any discussion of gender roles, acting through assumptions rather than being overtly argumentative. The effects of social class on relationships between women are also prominent in the stories, especially in "Charity." The length and concentration on a thematic thread that runs through the stories is reminiscent of James Joyce's "Dubliners." However, some of the situations and characters in the stories could benefit from further development. The strongest tales are "The Return Gift," "Life Goes On," "The Reunion," and "Lunch Boxes." This collection is worth a read. I received this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    "Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India" which I won through Goodreads/Giveaways is a collection of eleven stories that give a glimpse into the modern culture of India that still sanctions arranged marriages, dowries, spousal and elderly abuse. In "A Happy Marriage" a young woman turns to her parents for help from the obsessive insecurity of her husband while in " The Returned Gift" a young woman takes action after discovering the truth of her married lover's lies. But it's "Lunch Boxes" that "Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India" which I won through Goodreads/Giveaways is a collection of eleven stories that give a glimpse into the modern culture of India that still sanctions arranged marriages, dowries, spousal and elderly abuse. In "A Happy Marriage" a young woman turns to her parents for help from the obsessive insecurity of her husband while in " The Returned Gift" a young woman takes action after discovering the truth of her married lover's lies. But it's "Lunch Boxes" that I found heartbreaking as a young girl yearns for the equality, respect and education given freely to her brothers while she's restricted to duties within the home. Though-provoking in content and beautifully written these stories touch your heart and make you wonder how such injustices against women, the elderly and servants can still exist in our modern world. Although short in length it is well-worth reading.

  4. 4 out of 5

    MS

    This is the second book of short stories by the same author. Earlier I have read another one,'The Wedding Trousseau and Other Short Stories'. The stories in this volume center around lives of women and the matters related to them. They need thinking and are not meant for cursory reading. The stories have varied themes with each story meticulously built around its central idea and presented in a concise, beautiful language. Though they are thought provoking as they present stark, unpleasant reali This is the second book of short stories by the same author. Earlier I have read another one,'The Wedding Trousseau and Other Short Stories'. The stories in this volume center around lives of women and the matters related to them. They need thinking and are not meant for cursory reading. The stories have varied themes with each story meticulously built around its central idea and presented in a concise, beautiful language. Though they are thought provoking as they present stark, unpleasant realities, they also display the spirit of struggle and a hope of getting through. The author maintains the tenor of her previous book very well. If you need a light mood time pass like the ones that flood the markets, this one is not for you.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joni-Lee Smith

    I won this book and I thought it was quite good not something I would normally read and I not a big fan of short stories but it was enjoyable for what I read

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan Walker

    Very short story that will show people what marriage is like for oung people in India. Good book. Wish it was longer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    The author definitely has some skills in writing but she needs more practice in capturing the reader's attention and keeping the reader's attention. Many times the opening of the short story would capture my attention and then the author would drag on what felt like a tangent. Some stories were very well written while others made the author appear a weak writer. Furthermore, at some points it became difficult to follow who was speaking due to the references to all the characters as she. In one o The author definitely has some skills in writing but she needs more practice in capturing the reader's attention and keeping the reader's attention. Many times the opening of the short story would capture my attention and then the author would drag on what felt like a tangent. Some stories were very well written while others made the author appear a weak writer. Furthermore, at some points it became difficult to follow who was speaking due to the references to all the characters as she. In one of the beginning stories I had no clue which she was saying what because neither were given a name. This book is not a book for those looking for heart warming tales, nor is it intended to be. Almost all the tales ended sad. Although it advertises that this book demonstrates aspects of Indian culture to show women what it is like to be from traditional family homes in India, it does not have enough distinct aspects of the culture written into the stories to make one feel like they are reading about that part of the world. I would strongly suggest that the author spends their time attempting to develop a longer story in the future in the hopes that her lengthy details are better warranted.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    I won this book of short stories in a Goodreads giveaway and enjoyed it very much. The individual stories have a focused theme on culture and life in India, primarily from a female's perspective. I've read similar books by other Indian authors and Ms. Sharma's writing does not disappoint. She is very talented, the stories were touching and interesting, in literary prose. I plan on reading more by this author in the future.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Beautifully written. This was an intriguing glimpse into a culture that I have not experienced. I wished that some of the stories could be expanded so that I might bet a better understanding of the situation. For the most part the meaning of each story became clear before the story ended. An overall intriguing book. A relatively quick read that can be understood by anyone. *note: I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads giveaways*

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

    The stories in this collection are short and touching, most in a sad sort of way. The book is a quick read and the author is good at her story telling. I received this book free from Goodreads First Reads.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    I won this through GoodReads. I spent two mornings reading this. Some lovely short stories packed in and some wonderfully, believable characters! Some just jumped off the pages.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Rai

    In India, particularly among the poor families in the villages, a girl is invariably confined to the household work after say a maximum of just five years of school life. Some girls don't even get an opportunity to step into a school so studying for five years itself is a big privilege. This is a tale Indians are all too familiar with that exists even today despite all the hullabaloo over embracing modernity and the digital way of life. Ankita Sharma draws from this slice of life to pull off a ch In India, particularly among the poor families in the villages, a girl is invariably confined to the household work after say a maximum of just five years of school life. Some girls don't even get an opportunity to step into a school so studying for five years itself is a big privilege. This is a tale Indians are all too familiar with that exists even today despite all the hullabaloo over embracing modernity and the digital way of life. Ankita Sharma draws from this slice of life to pull off a charming tale in one of the stories titled 'Lunch Boxes' in her second collection of eleven short stories – Swati's Marriage and other tales of India. Lunch Boxes is the shortest story among the lot and comes at the end in a fitting way to remind that while women seem to have been empowered in India a huge gap still remains unfilled. The narrator's observation says it all, "One thing I could never understand is that despite the fact I cook well and serve my father most lovingly, he never praises me or pats me like he does my brothers. I keep wondering what I should do to receive a hug from him." The remaining ten stories also centre around women in India and each one is distinct from the other. While the title story Swati's Marriage narrates the story of a seemingly docile daughter who's struggling to find a suitor although her mother would rather want her to keep being the bread winner of the family, 'Life Goes On' tells the story of a rebellious women who has no qualms about telling her husband that she would remarry in case he died. The stories also touch upon extramarital affairs, a topic of hot discussion as women become working professionals, and life of kitty-party playing women whose only motive to do charity is to get their faces splashed across media. While these themes may be all too familiar, Ankita Sharma has made these stories her own with some of the stories almost ringing a perfect note.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ape

    I won this on a giveaway on goodreads and the book arrived in the post today. I was surprised by how slim it is. Had I paid more attention to the book details I would have noticed that it's only about 40 pages long - so it was never going to be a massive tome. Anyway, it is a small collection of short stories about women's lives in modern India, particularly about relationships, arranged marriages, mother-in-law pressures and so forth. Even if you don't come from this culture (I don't) there are I won this on a giveaway on goodreads and the book arrived in the post today. I was surprised by how slim it is. Had I paid more attention to the book details I would have noticed that it's only about 40 pages long - so it was never going to be a massive tome. Anyway, it is a small collection of short stories about women's lives in modern India, particularly about relationships, arranged marriages, mother-in-law pressures and so forth. Even if you don't come from this culture (I don't) there are emotions and experiences here that everyone can relate to at one point or another in their lives. But, if I had to sum up this book in a word, honestly, I'd have to go with something like underwhelming. The writing is a bit messy in places and it's just... yeah, underwhelming sums it up mostly.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ashutosh

    Very hard hitting and realistic stories which look feminist, as they are women oriented, but end up presenting an unbiased view of the life of women in India, mainly of educated and middle class women. Instead of using a vast canvas with numerous characters and details which end up boring most readers, Ankita has stuck to her typical short and meaningful style of writing stories. The use of words is excellent. This book and its writer bring an enjoyable and welcome change which relieves the read Very hard hitting and realistic stories which look feminist, as they are women oriented, but end up presenting an unbiased view of the life of women in India, mainly of educated and middle class women. Instead of using a vast canvas with numerous characters and details which end up boring most readers, Ankita has stuck to her typical short and meaningful style of writing stories. The use of words is excellent. This book and its writer bring an enjoyable and welcome change which relieves the reader from the ennui of reading the run of the mill childish authors of English language fiction in India. My personal favorite stories in this book are 'The Reunion' and 'Swati's Marriage' though I liked all stories reading them without any sequence. I hope to see more such wonderful creations from Ankita in future.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Debbi DuBose

    I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion. This 42 page book contains 11 short narratives. They all deal with marriage in India today. The story that affected me the most; dealt with ending of a marriage due to the young wife who is dying. Who is her companion in the hospital? The new second wife, who can only talk about all the jewels that will now belong to her. The dying wife only wants to know if she will love her son for her. A question she never really gets I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion. This 42 page book contains 11 short narratives. They all deal with marriage in India today. The story that affected me the most; dealt with ending of a marriage due to the young wife who is dying. Who is her companion in the hospital? The new second wife, who can only talk about all the jewels that will now belong to her. The dying wife only wants to know if she will love her son for her. A question she never really gets an answer to. This story is very sad, but truly effective in getting the point across, that marriage in India hasn't changed much over the last centuries.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carmen Gordon

    I won this book in a giveaway. This book contains several short stories addressing the issues women in Indian culture face daily. I understood and identified with a few of the stories towards the end of the book, but most of the stories left me very confused. I am attributing this confusion with the differences in language and practices of culture. Because of this, I recommend this book only to readers familiar with the Indian culture.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I received a copy of this book for free through a Goodreads giveaway. Swati's marriage was a different style of book for me, as it centred around customs and traditions of a different cultural background. While the stories were interesting, I found the grammar and writing style to be rather poorly done, not too sure if this was intended, as it was written in the style of a new immigrant, or someone with English as a second or third language.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angie Flom

    Collection of short stories about Indian women. (1-3 pages each) Many of the stories seemed to come off as complaining about something rather than telling a story. They do cover multiple topics, mostly about men controlling their lives or feeling jealous of other women. Maybe others will enjoy more than I did, just was not what I was expecting. *I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author via Goodreads*

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linsey Rundell

    I won this book via Goodreads Giveaways. I was so excited when this book of short stories arrived in the mail. I really wanted to like this book; however, I felt that each story fell flat and that the dialogue between characters seemed underdeveloped. A positive thing I can say is that I appreciated the different stories that were being told (in variety)- these are stories that should be shared.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I won this book on a goodread giveaway . It consists of 11 short stories based on indian cultures and female traditions of the land . Some of the tales are heart rendering and difficult to image that predjudice still exists in these modern times.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leanne Renaud

    These are great short stories. I think there is something missing. It might be from translating it to English or it might be a cultural thing. Still worth the read. I received this book from Goodreads giveaways.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Wilson

    Swati's Marriage and Other Tales of India- Ankita Sharma 11 stories about modern marriage in India. Very enlightening and enjoyable. I received this book through Goodreads

  23. 5 out of 5

    Keeley

    I received this book as part of a GoodReads Giveaway. The stories were good, but I didn't find myself attached to any characters as the stories were so short.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anne Derkat

    I won this book from Goodreads. It's very short, only 40 pages with stories of women in India. I found it so sad, and quite depressing and had a hard time getting through it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    I received this book via Goodread Giveaway. A very entertaining book. The biggest problem is that the book was REALLY short with 40 pages worth of story.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Betty

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ankita

  30. 4 out of 5

    Govind Sharma

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