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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Karma and Other Stories

Karma and Other Stories - Rishi Reddi Review taken from The Literary SnobThere have been a great number of Indian novels and collections in the last several years. Karma and Other Stories, a collection by Rishi Reddi, is one of the more overlooked titles in the (Indian) ocean of these books. While these seven stories are enjoyable, for the most part, they unfortunately miss the mark of rising above the competition.Karma and Other Stories starts strong with "Judge Shiva Ram Murthy," a story about an elderly Indian man adjusting to life in America. When a mishap happens with his food at a Mexican restaurant, the title character goes to great lengths to prove how he has been wronged. This story has a refreshing voice and makes one think about cultural differences in both a comical and enlightening way.Unfortunately, this original voice does not stay refreshing for long. Story after story repeats the basic formula: a displaced character, one from Hyderabad and who speaks Telugu, struggles to reconcile their Indian heritage with their American residence. Often this formula involves young second generation Indian daughters, each of whom are dancers and struggle with being sexually-charged.The only exception to this formula is the title story, "Karma". This was by far my favorite. It was unique, magical, and held my complete attention until the end. "Karma" steps beyond the character's Indian heritage and asks the reader to examine their life's work and the passions they too often ignore.If Reddi wants to tell her own story, I think she'd be better off writing a novel. Expanding any of these stories to a complete work would have been more fulfilling than reading nearly identical stories over and again. If she prefer to stick with the short story, she'll definitely need to reach outside of her own story. It's an interesting tale, but I'd rather read it one time and move on.