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TheUnforgiving City and Other Stories

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Vasudhendra (Author) Vasudhendra is a bestselling author in Kannada. Among his fifteen books are... Read More

Product Description

Vasudhendra (Author)
Vasudhendra is a bestselling author in Kannada. Among his fifteen books are the critically acclaimed Mohanaswamy, which has been translated into several languages, the historical novel Tejo Tungabhadra that has become hugely popular, and the award-winning collection of essays Nammamma Andre Nangishta (I Like My Mother). He is a recipient of several literary awards, including the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Book Prize and the U.R. Ananthamurthy Award. After working as a software professional for over twenty years, Vasudhendra now runs his own publication house, Chanda Pustaka. For more details, visit You can connect with him on Facebook and on Twitter @vasudhendra7.

Mysore Nataraja (Translator)
Dr Mysore Nataraja has worked with the US nuclear industry and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a technical expert for over forty years. An acclaimed writer in Kannada, he has published several collections of poems, plays, short stories and essays. He is the recipient of many literary awards, including the Gorur Award (2004) and Alwa's Nudi Siri Award of Mudubidri (2018).


From the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi winner Vasudhendra comes a powerful collection of stories that shock, move and amuse by turns. As the characters struggle to find their feet in a fast-changing India, they mirror our unspoken dilemmas, torn loyalties and the loss of innocence.

In the extremely popular 'Red Parrot', an innocuous image from childhood returns to haunt a man when he visits his idyllic hometown. In 'Recession', the desire for a child leads a couple down unexpected paths. In other stories, a young woman in love rethinks her future when buried family secrets are suddenly revealed; a boy learns that insomnia may be the symptom of something more ominous; lonely apartment residents discover the thrills and perils of social media.

Deftly crafted with gentle wit and a lightness of touch, each gripping story exposes the deepest contradictions of modern life. The fluid translation retains the flavour and nuances of the original Kannada, creating a rich reading experience.


'The dance was called Paper Dance, where couples were asked to dance within the boundaries of a newspaper spread out on the floor. Stepping out of the boundary led to disqualification. As Devika was single, someone from the crowd stepped forward. It was Vinayak Kulakarni. . . . Devika sensed her partner's hesitation. He would forget his steps the moment he touched her. His ears turned red and he refused to look into her eyes. His boisterous friends shouted to him from behind: "Hey, Kulki, come on, get closer." But, the more she boldly held his waist and drew him nearer, the more he would shrink; he held on to her gingerly. Devika egged him on nonstop, eventually helping him break out of his shyness. By the time the newspaper size shrank to the size of a paper towel, they were still in the game and, finally, Devika won. That was when she whispered her mobile number in his ear.'

The story, published in 2008, stands out for its rich detailing of the wrecked landscape, of people who manage to escape the town to build a life elsewhere and those who remain trapped. The very title of the story is a remarkable inversion of a childhood image that reveals the scale of environmental devastation in a flash.Even as its writer seems to spurn the grasp of identity politics, his eclectic collection The Unforgiving City doesn't necessarily shy away from themes of identity. In fact, where Vasudhendra is more successful is when he juxtaposes identity and domestic disharmony against free market capitalism.

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