Book Review: The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

Book review: The heart of the MatterThe Heart of the Matter is a congregation of short stories from North- East Indian Authors. It was first published by a non-profit society known as KATHA in 2004. The stories in this book were originally written in various native languages and their English translation is included in the book. It goes this way about the land of North-East according to the back cover of the book- “ Skilled in peace, gifted with war, the land of North-East holds its secrets but for the fortunate few”, i.e. the few fortunate people who come across this book and dip themselves in the sweet syrup of North-Eastern beauty.

There are a total of twenty two stories in The Heart of the Matter with their themes ranging from as general a quality as ‘humility is all that counts’ to themes which are peculiar to the North-East. The reader literally takes a tour to five of the eight states of North-East – Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam and Nagaland. The places and the people here always seem so foreign and obscure to the mainland countrymen. Their culture and customs remain unknown and exotic to rest of India who hardly come across them until they visit North-East or read a book like this. These stories seem to be a virtual passage to the magnificent land of rich culture. There are stories which talk about insurgency and its effect on local people, about youth being in danger of poverty and thus getting caught in the trap of anti-social activities. It depicts the simplicity and humility in the routine of people, describes their means and ways of living and thus portrays the contrast between their lives and that of ours. Each of these twenty two stories has an entirely different theme from the others; so it’s indeed an overfilled package of emotions, customs, love, rebellion, hunting expedition, celebration, dealing with insurgent activities, death, supernatural elements and what not! The handpicked fiction stories make a delicious buffet for readers who are curious about the life-in- detail of people in North-East.

With so many details about the much-fancied land, so explicitly conveyed in every single story, they stir the aesthetic corner in our hearts. It satiates you if you were curious about North-East and it makes you curious if you originally were not.

Smartbuy Rating ****(4/5)

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