Like a synthesis between Borges and Asimov, this collection of stories contain a number of beautifully written and intricately imagined explorations of science, belonging and meaning. From the lachrymose Spanish poet whose obsession with a beautiful woman reawakens his latent creativity, to the woman whose thirst for vengeance via murder comes full circle as she realise the person she is bent on killing would welcome death as a release from the perpetual suffering of life, in many ways Singh’s stories defy categorisation as they resemble a conflagration of her imagination, a combination of the precision of science with the creativity of the imagination.
In ‘A Handful of Rice’, which is set an alternate reality of colonial India, the narrator battles with a bellicose king whose desire to hoard knowledge leads to him outlawing the teaching of Vedic arts, leading to a violent clash between the two. In ‘Are you Sannata 3159’ the narrator is incarcerated for exposing a corrupt government practice whose sole avenue to the truth is an anonymous stranger who is accidentally shared this with and in ‘Requiem’ the narrator is attempting to uncover the mystery behind the death of her aunt. The common thread which runs through all of these stories is the sense of wonder which Singh is able to create in the world she depicts, the beautiful images she depicts and the purple patches of prose which populate her stories;
“One day I dreamed I was the light falling off the edge of a leaf, nice and straight, but for the lacy diffraction at the edge. At night I flew into the clouds, to the well of stars, and became a piece of the void, a bit of dark velvet stitched on to the sky”
A wonderful collection of stories, which fuses sci-fi with a poetic narrative style, thereby creating something truly original and beautiful.