KATHAKAL — Short Stories: K. Aravindakshan; DC Books, DC Kizhakemuri Edam, Good Shepherd Street, Kottayam-686001. Rs. 110.

THIS COLLECTION comprises 30 stories spanning over three decades, selected by M. Kamaruddin and K. Jayakumar. The author, admittedly, is not part of the mainstream fiction-writers. The lingering tone of almost all stories is the moral indignation, through the medium of fiction. An overdose of ideology has affected the readability of the well-crafted stories; it is through strong characterisation and the narrative structure that he protests against the contemporary state of affairs in the society. The characters are moulded to powerfully unravel the philosophy of the writer who protests strongly against injustice and intellectual hypocrisy. A few stories, which expose the rural life, are poignant, depicting the plight of the downtrodden women.

The writer is disillusioned with the devaluation of political thoughts and movements, like communism and Gandhism and is concerned about the growth of communalism.

A typical story is “Balidan”, where an old man laments over the iconic status of Godse, who murdered the father of the nation. The cruelties inflicted on innocent people during the Emergency are powerfully depicted in the story, “2005-il 75”.