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Book Review: My Father Drank My Lover and Other Stories by Ashok Banker

A collection of stories that are edgy; stories that might make you uncomfortable but nonetheless will inspire awe in you. For My Father Drank My Lover and Other Stories the author has found inspiration from mythology to the common traits of the citizenry world over; the stories are as interesting as they are shocking.

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My Father Drank My Lover and Other Stories comes from the pen of the journalist turned author Ashok Banker. He is the man behind the Ramayana series which some people would say laid the 
foundation stone for the country's biggest segment of fiction right now- mythological retellings. 

Coming back to the book, My Father Drank My Lover and Other Stories has 11 stories in it. The book has been published by Pan Macmillan India where these stories have been compiled for the first time (says the back cover. Also I have not come across the stories individually before this)

The book has 11 stories whose inspiration ranges from Indian mythology to the concept of parallel universes as well as life in outer space. The writing is fluid and almost all the stories are woven with extreme care and strong imagination. 

While I found some of the stories like Blood Mangoes where a certain Goddess extracts her pound of flesh in a sinister way- shocking; there are others like the Six-Gun Vixen and the Dead Coon Trash Gang written in the traditional style of ol' time westerners The Quiltbag about a bag that consumes evil worlds highly amusing and entertaining.

Actually shock and awe were two emotions that I constantly felt while reading the book. A story that will probably always stand out in my memory is the one titled Tongue. When I started reading the story I could not comprehend much. I must mention here that I am not a major sci-fi lover, [Horror is another genre that I maintain a safe distance from.] so it took me time to get used to the parlance and other nuances of sci-fi. Tongue is probably the shortest story in the book and as I neared its end I was blown away by the depth of this one story. This is a story that takes place in almost every second household in India. This story dealt with dowry, domestic violence, the (wrong kind of) values we teach our girls and the training we provide them in the name of being a good wife. This story struck a deep chord with me as did another one called The Fisher Queen about a man and his faith and what it brings to him.

All in all I could barely put down the book without finishing it up. My initial reaction to the length of the stories or number of pages each story takes up was that they run longer than what would ideally be a short story but as I read on I realised that it was a useless bias to hold against any story at all.

The stories in the book are varied and man are they meaty! If you share a special love for the short story you will like most of the book. These stories will for sure jostle you out from your comfort zone and leave you asking for more.

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Title: My Father Drank My Lover and Other Stories
Author: Ashok Banker
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Sci-fi, Short story, Fantasy
Paperback: 326 pages 
Price: Rs 399
Publisher: Pan Macmillan India
Language: English
My Rating: 4/5

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