Winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and the Atta Galatta-Bangalore Literature Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, Jayant Kaikini is one of India's most celebrated short story writers. No Presents Please brings his work to North America for the first time.
Despite the relatively minor status of Kannada in Mumbai, or perhaps because of it, as the stories unfold and lead to more stories, they are refreshing in the way show the city bringing together thousands of people every day ... None of it makes sense and that is the pleasure at the core of the stories—the unfamiliar becomes suddenly familiar ... The beauty of all the stories lies in such conversations. Contrary to internationally well-known works about the city which tend to bombast in their explicitly philosophizing, in these works, ironically, the city vanishes in the process of highlighting the city. Kaikini accomplishes through rare descriptive writing ... a fitting tribute paid to the city through fiction: the microcosms of settings and relationships that allow the characters, and thereby the readers, especially the city dwellers (Mumbaikars as they are called) to be born again, or assume a new life. Kaikini’s stories capture Mumbai as the scattered-omnipresent influence it holds on individuals living here.
Most affecting are 'A Pair of Spare Legs,' which portrays an incorrigible six-year-old, and the title story about young lovers in the midst of wedding plans ... Intriguing, albeit somewhat uneven multiculti fare for the internationally inclined.
A sampler of work by a veteran Indian writer with a talent for exposing the irony and humor in everyday lives ... All of these stories, culled from Kaikini’s work between 1986 and 2006, are set in Mumbai, but the breadth of their subject matter speaks both to the diversity of the metropolis and his reach as a writer. He can be intimate...He has a fine grasp of twists and comedy ... Niranjana’s translation from the Kannada thoughtfully weaves native phrases with their translations, removing the need for a glossary and immersing readers in Kaikini’s world. His style and themes will have a familiar ring for Western audiences; there are echoes of Jhumpa Lahiri and George Saunders. But his vision of a bustling city, his sense of its drama and magical moments, is his own ... A welcome introduction of a commanding writer to a wider audience.