Chirdeep Malhotra . Updated: 6/13/2022 12:35:05 PM Books and Authors

Book Review: "The Impish Lass – Part 2" by Meena Mishra

“The Impish Lass – Part 2” by Meena Mishra is a collection of short stories that foray into the adventures of TIL and other characters. The overarching theme of these stories revolves around human life and behaviour, and they have been written with an intricate detail to empathy and sensitivity.

The author, in the book’s introduction, says that after reading the story of TIL (The Impish Lass), which is inspired by the author’s mother, you would feel that it is your story, your neighbour’s story or probably your parents’ story. Indeed, many of the stories in this book would be relatable to Indian audiences, and detail memorable situations. Many Hindi words have also been used in the stories, and this imparts a vernacular touch, which would be liked by readers.

In the story ‘The Best Teacher’, TIL tells her teacher that she wants to become a sunflower. This story gives the message that nature is the best teacher. TIL appears in many stories in this collection. The story ‘Tapri ki Chai’ features the protagonist Jaishnavi, who overcomes obstacles put forth by the social constructs, and takes her life’s control in her own hands. In the story ‘The Sandalwood Fragrance’, a sandalwood soap becomes the main character driving the romance between a couple. The story ‘Bruised Bosom’ deals with the topic of breast cancer. Some other short stories from the book that I liked are ‘Her Boss’, ‘The Worst Counsellor’, ‘How TIL Fought Her Demon’, and ‘Pindaruch’.

The themes that the short stories delve into include love, emotions, heartbreak, friendships, patriarchy, and nature. What’s even more impressive is Meena Mishra’s densely layered weaving of sensitive themes into simple narratives. The characters are superbly wrought, and many tales also give moral lessons.Most of the stories in this book are heart-warming and will draw upon your heartstrings.

This is a book of sincere and ingenuous short stories, written mostly for middle-grade and young adult readers, but it can be picked up by readers of all ages, to experience nostalgia for breezy and simpler times.

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