Saturday, December 18, 2010

Out of Print, Issue 2

When our editor Samhita produced the wonderful art you see on the cover of the second issue of Out of Print, we realised that a common thread runs through the stories, that of removal - of the distance between appearance and reality. In some stories, the characters wear a mask, in some they are forced to mask their feelings and in others, the peeling away of layers results in clarity. One might argue that this play of perceptions, of viewing the world through ‘eyes wide shut’ is essential to story; Oscar Wilde, in his essay, The Critic As Artist said that ‘Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.’ If we were to ascribe a theme to our second release of Out of Print, it would have to be based around masks, illusions and regard.

In Anjum Hasan’s piece we see the world centred and balanced through the sensibilities of Mrs. Ali. K R Usha, winner of the Vodafone Crossword Award, paints a portrait of a woman within a traditional family fold where the narrator’s picture doesn’t quite match the image projected by the family. Rebecca Lloyd, winner of the Bristol Short Story Prize, contributes a story about transitions, cultural schisms and deeply steeped violence in East London. Janice Pariat’s story takes us through the multiple realities of her characters, which are coloured by aggression. A man must reconcile grief, guilt and practicality in a story of a funeral by Karthik Subramanian. In Susmita Srivastava’s piece, a man’s reality is defined by his memory. Vinayak Varma brings us surreal perceptions, while the main character in Fehmida Zakeer’s story must decide whether to manipulate her premonitions.

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