Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review: Boats on Land by Janice Pariat

On the jacket:

Boats on Land (Random House, India) is a collection of short stories that offer a new way of looking at the world, and, in particular, India’s little-known northeast. Set in and around Shillong, Cherrapunjee and pockets of Assam, these tales are shaped against a larger historical canvas of the early days of the British Raj, the World Wars, conversions to Christianity, and the missionaries.

Spanning a sweep of centuries, from the mid-1800s to the present day, the stories work as a historical, sociological documentation of a place and its people, interweaving the quotidien and the mythic, the mundane and the extraordinary.

This is a world in which the everyday is infused with folklore and a deep belief in the supernatural. Here, a girl dreams of being a firebird. An artist watches souls turn into trees. A man shape-shifts into a tiger. Another is bewitched by water fairies. Political struggles and social unrest interweave with fireside tales and age-old superstitions.


I won this book as the January '13 winner of the Indian Quills Challenge 2013 and finally got to read this. Of entire India, the north east states fascinate me the most and with my family tree having faint traces of existence in Tripura, it just feeds to my fantasies of life on the hills.

Boats on Land is a book of short stories, let mainly around Shillong and Assam.  The author has a strong writing style, which is abundantly peppered with tranquil notes. Set during the British Raj, all the stories are vivid and while reading you will easily visualize the scenes.

A smooth read, a set of feel good stories. 

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

1 comment:

  1. Good Review. I read the book and its wonderful as you reviewed.


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