Review of Kafka In Ayodhya

Title : Kafka in Ayodhya and other short stories


Author : Zafar Anjum





Blurb : “From Kafka and Faulkner to Babri Masjid and Bollywood, the myriad strands of contemporary South Asian life are twisted and turned into memorable stories – ironic or indignant, sad or touching – by Zafar Anjum in Kafka in Ayodhya and Other Stories.” – by Zafar Anjum in Kafka in Ayodhya and other stories.


My views : Kafka in Ayodhya and other short stories comprises of eight short stories. The title of the book is itself the story residing on the very first page. Beginning with the very first story.


Kafka in Ayodhya : Kafka in Ayodhya is a story of a writer Kafka who visits Ayodhya for a script and to meet his friend N, and there he presents his humorous and candid views on the ongoing war between Hindu and Muslim over Babri Masjid Ram Janmabhumi Structure.  In this very short story, author creates a perfect ambience of Ayodhya briefly; his traits are being drawn in a witty manner.


The Lone Fighter : A Lone Fighter is again a story of a writer, who wants to make his space in the crowd of writers and wanted to see respect in the eyes of people as a writer. The story reveals the condition of a writer, where he himself is to write, publish and sell his book. The story of an unrecognized writer told deliberately.


The Rats : It is a story about a lower middle class family. The family was irritated by the rats which recently occupied their house. Spouse also searched for a solution and looked up so many stores in search of poison. At the end they got a poison brick from a store, but the shopkeeper instructed not to kill the rats. Without wasting time they took the brick to their home and kept it on various positions, but nothing works. What happened with the rats at last is not unleashed till the end.  A story unlatched slowly with a cliffhanger ending.


Waiting for the Angels : It is the story about an old lady who sacrifices the joys of her own life to take care of her younger sister. In order to bring up Shehnaz she even chooses not to marry whole life. Her life is lighted up when Shehnaz’s baby came in her life. Soon after few months Shehnaz, his baby and Shehnaz’s husband left to States leaving the lady alone. She was bored, tired and unhappy. Days are stretching with increasing boredom across the edges of her life. One day two person (referred as angels) came and she was happy to see them. They were busy in the conversation and then story ends leaving tinge of riddle. Again a story with a cliffhanger.


E.D. : It is the story about a writer who was busy in completing his write-up. He was writing a story about a boy named Hanu suffering from a disease. Story shoes the behaviors of writer and his activities while completing the story. At times writer’s mind blank and later when the yarn of the story opens writer’s mind submerged with thoughts and events.


The Revolt : Here comes a story again about a writer who have gone through many years of struggle to publish his book. In the story writer’s own book’s character (Mr. C) vanishes from the story. C demands to change his behavior and then traps the writer into the book. At last the writer is trapped and asking the readers to don’t leave him. A nice story with a funny ending. My lips are curved at the end reading the last word “Nooooo….”


The Thousand-Yard Stare : You the reader’s out there will understand the chosen title after reading the last line of the big paragraph on page 80. A little girl Samira lost in the memories and dreams of her brother unleashes the misery of her heart as soon as the story is unbuckled on the edges of reader’s mind. A nice read.


Ima : Ima is a character in the story and she is a bar girl who works in The Pink Dolphin bar in Singapore. Protagonist Raghu fell in love with Ima. One day after making love with his wife Vijaya he throws the idea of opening a restaurant in Singapore. Why he came along with this idea to open the restaurant in Singapore instead on India? The question will be uncovered at the end of the story.


All the stories are very well written and I enjoyed reading the book. His writings have a class, his words attacks so smoothly that the thoughts he presents before readers stick to their mind. Inspired by the writings of foreign writers, his work reflects the same style. Author has sketched every shade up to the snuff making me completely hooked from the beginning till the end. All the stories have different threads of ideas and plot woven in a single book. All I could say is – A good book to spent time with.


The only downfall which I located is that – On page number 65 in the fifth paragraph “After sometime, Manu began to… “ , the story are having characters Hanu and Maneka then who is Manu. I guess author had mistakenly write Manu instead of Hanu.


A wondrous read!


Rating : 4.5/5


Reviewer : Megha Biloniya

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