In this collection of stories, dreams collide with reality, modernity collides with antiquity, myth with true identity; women grapple with desire, with ego, with motherhood and mortality. The stories travel from India to America and back again to reveal the small moments of beauty, pain, and power that contain the world.
Powered by intense imagery and jolts of frank sexuality, Shruti Swamy’s A House Is a Body blurs the line between fantastical and naturalistic storytelling with its tales of love, loss, and life lived across cultures ... The stories easily shift between continents and cultures ... Throughout, Swamy’s sensuous style illuminates her characters’ thoughts and actions, easily accommodating a wide range of moods, from understated tragedy to more surreal flights of fancy. Just like the loyal housedog and cobra who duel in the concluding, fable-like Night Garden, Swamy dances on the boundaries between life and death, and between ennui and irrevocable change, with mesmerizing results.
This is Shruti Swamy’s debut collection of stories. She is not a debut author. She writes with sureness and grace. Her writing is more poetry than prose. Swamy does not write the kind of short stories you are used to reading. Few feature a classic plot line or create memorable characters. Rather, the stories put you in a mood, leave you with a new feeling about the situations and people she has created. The stories are rewarding for the elegance and lilt of the writing. Swamy takes you on an easy, well-articulated rides set in India, Germany, and the United States. The collection contains several strong pieces ... Stories that do not follow a traditional plot structure are quite pleasurable for their language and descriptions ... The author blends the physical acts with emotional feeling in a most satisfying way ... Swamy can imbue simple acts like crying, walking, or taking a shower with a level of detail that creates a new understanding of it ... If you love words, the way they can be used to describe objects and actions, the ways they can be assembled for effect, buy A House Is a Body. You will be rewarded
Stories divide between closer narratives that feel like moments, while others work within stretches of time and offer a wide scope. The result of the latter is pointed, matter of fact sentences that can give stories the sense of a fable. Still, Swamy shifts time in unflinching confidence that keeps the narrative’s momentum strong ... Swamy isn’t afraid of experimentation ... Swamy’s collection is nervy and engaging while she displays a talent for sparse emotional language that’s a joy to read.