Book Review

Stories Full of Love, Emotion, and Tenderness

Published On: March 8, 2023 09:15 AM NPT By: Bhisma Upreti

The stories in the collection are captivating. The use of sentences that are picturesque in various places attracts the readers. The vividness of the language is natural. The stories instill enthusiasm in the readers.

Shobha Gyawali is not a new name in Nepali literature. She has been actively writing stories for almost 15 years, published in various magazines, newspapers, and as books. In 2020, she published a collection of stories called 'Sampurna Aakash' and recently published her second book, 'Sangharsha.' The latter contains 26 stories, some of which were previously published while others are new.

Storyteller Gyawali’s second story collection seems to be a continuation of the first in terms of content and writing style. The stories in her previous collection primarily focus on love. They present various aspects of the lives of middle-class women. The stories in this second collection also depict the struggles that women in middle-class society face. Urban women’s curiosity, hope, disappointment, and frustration, along with the sentiment of rebellion, are also portrayed in these stories. However, the tone of rebellion and aggression is subtle. The characters in Gyawali’s stories are not overtly rebels. Instead, they peacefully oppose the injustices and exploitation they face. For example, the story titled ‘Sankalp’ (Promise), ‘Naya Mode’ (New Direction), and the ‘Basantako Agaman’ (The Arrival of Spring) can be taken.

The vital aspect of Gyawali’s storytelling is that she does not write about shallow and commonly thought-of topics. She touches upon subjects and themes that people may not have deeply contemplated but are essential in making life meaningful yet simple and beautiful. Gyawali writes stories about life inside the home, family, dreams, aspirations, and struggles of suppressed, deprived, lost, and suffering women. She writes stories about her own experiences and the experiences of those around her. People wander and get tired for joy, peace, and happiness. But they do not find the eternal peace and joy that can be found around them and their belongings. By reading Gyawali’s stories, one can sense that peace, joy, happiness, and prosperity begin within oneself, one’s home, and family, making life colorful and bright. Although some families may seem wealthy, successful, and educated from the outside, some women within their homes are oppressed. Neglected, abused, and undermined.

In some cases, the women of the house do not realize such situations, and in some cases, even if they do, they are unable to make it public. Gyawali has beautifully written about their bitter and painful experiences. By reading such stories, one can realize the truth about how they behave at home and how it affects others. 

All the stories in this book are woven into reality. There are very few fictional subjects in the book, almost none. The writer admits that the events in these stories are her own or her surroundings. Therefore, persons’ lives are captured in the stories. We are the characters of the stories. All our actions are events in the stories. As we read this book, we will experience our stories and emotions in many places. The book has a relatability element. The language is simple and easy to understand. Although centered on love, the stories are not just about love. Other serious stories include ‘Marriage of a Widow’, ‘The Curse of a Stranger’, ‘Mistakes’ and ‘Blooming Flowers’. Gyawali’s stories inspire the readers to love life and fill positivity in the reader’s hearts. This is the beautiful aspect of her stories.

Although sometimes the author controls the characters in the story, the characters usually control the author. The writer cannot impose themself on the story by going beyond the nature of the characters. If that happens, the story’s effectiveness will diminish, and it will spoil the story. A spoiled story loses its charm. The writer is free to create the characters and their stories. But once the characters and the background are created, the writer loses their freedom. They have to breathe life into the story while working within the limits of freedom and creating meaning. If they can do this impactfully, they are considered a successful storyteller. From this perspective, the characters in the stories shine like flames, and the environment in which they live feels natural. The characters live and carry out their lives in the economic, social, and geographical environment their character is created. This maintains naturalness in the story. However, in most stories, the environment is the same, and the creation of the same type of character and the advancement of the story in the same atmosphere limits the impact of the entire book. Therefore, an excellent storyteller must search for places where the dialogue and use of language can create magic and make a long-lasting impact on the reader's mind. This effort and impact are naturally expected from a storyteller like Gyawali.

After reading all the stories in the book, the readers would want to seek diversity in the subject matter and presentation of the stories. The variety in the subject matter and presentation, the novelty and skill in their portrayal, and the vividness and importance of the stories will contribute to the book’s importance and beauty. This would attract the readers and their attachment to the book. I wish to find diverse aspects in the writer’s next book.

The stories in the collection are captivating. The use of sentences that are picturesque in various places attracts the readers. The vividness of the language is natural. The stories instill enthusiasm in the readers.


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