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Lost in Obscurity and Other Stories: Review

"As each thread is woven into another, we begin to see the whole tapestry of people and their relationships."

Published onJan 23, 2023
Lost in Obscurity and Other Stories: Review

Lost in Obscurity and Other Stories by Debasish Mishra (2022) is both touching and bittersweet. This book is not just a “collection” of disjointed short stories but rather a clever coordination that tie events and characters together. For example, Chottu and Raju, two childhood friends in the first story, “The Inner Side of Innocence” extend a link to Raju, who we see (cast in his own light) in the second story, “The Postman.” The Swami in the second story will later return in his own unique story.

 As each thread is woven into another, we begin to see the whole tapestry of people and their relationships. Not only does Mishra bring the characters to life, but he also brings India to life as well. Towns, villages, customs, marriages, education, and occupations are all captured in exquisite detail as we walk the streets and enter the homes of people such as Bikash, Anita, Rajaram, Sanket, and many others.

 Mishra has a gift of creating vivid images of both people and places in the minds of his readers. Passages such as: “She rested on the bean bag, which sagged with the familiarity of her weight” and “The bulb, dangling from the ceiling like a slender branch, glowed over his hairy head,” brings details to life, which put readers directly in each scene.

 While this book could have been written as a novel, Mishra has actually constructed a much more intricate piece of work by giving each character a special “frame” in which to live and breathe. We, as readers, are privy to the inner workings of the families, hopes, dreams, desires, loves, and failures. The individual short stories allow for various, in-depth points of view and create an intricate layer-upon-layer work of art.

Arvilla Fee is the poetry editor for San Antonio Review. She has had poetry, short stories, and photography published in numerous journals and has a new poetry book, The Human Side (Wipf and Stock Publishers), available now.

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