Cover Image: Baby Doll: Stories

Baby Doll: Stories

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I have very mixed feelings about this collection of short stories. While it was nice to read so many different stories, I didn’t love the dark undertones and themes of the collection. I had hoped that I would get to experience a different culture than my own through these stories, which I did, to an extent. The idea of exploring the female mind was intriguing and I can see how this collection would be perfect for some people, but unfortunately, I didn’t feel as though this was the right collection for me. I would however like to thank NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers India for the opportunity to read and review this collection.
Was this review helpful?
Not my cup of tea. Religious tones aside, this stood out for almost each story rushing to a rushed conclusion, morals be damned.
Was this review helpful?
NetGalley ARC Educator 550974

A complex, dark, sensual exploration of the female mind. There's some mythology and spiritual themes from the Hindi and Christianity worlds. This is a 30 year exploration of the thoughts and feelings of Gracy. You will witness the depth and change in her writing styles over the years. I'm grateful for her bravery in compiling and publishing this work.
Was this review helpful?
I am enraptured with almost each tale in this collection. The stories of female desire, female woe, and the female experience are each so poignant.
My favorite by far however has to be Parting with Parvathi, which told a story of a young lesbian falling in and out of love with the wrong woman. It was very relatable to me because I went through a similar experience as a teenager and then adult, idolizing the wrong person because they were beautiful and gave me attention. Only to realize that the beauty was only skin deep.
Was this review helpful?
Over 30 short stories…. All of the stories have a dark feeling towards them and some I loved more than others.
Was this review helpful?
There are some good stories in this collection but most of them weren’t the kind I enjoy.

Gracyude Kathakal, who writes as “Gracy”, is supposedly "one of the finest practitioners of the short story in modern Malayalam literature." So it is with a bit of shamefacedness that I admit I had never heard of her. Like many Indian regional writers, she seems to have been restricted to readers of the language she writes in. If I am not wrong, this is the first English translation of her works. Needless to say, I had high hopes, but her writing style and my reading preference were unfortunately on parallel tracks for most of this journey. 

The 36 stories in this collection range in length from micro-fiction to novelette. The tales come primarily from female protagonists, and are mostly dark. The content is quite provocative, feminist and sexual – none of which are adjectives I would associate with Indian regional fiction and hence came as a pleasant surprise. Many tales have implicit references to Christian or Hindu mythology, but in a very irreverent sort of way.

There is a sarcastic kind of humour in a few of the stories, and a touch of magical realism in a few others. These are the ones I enjoyed the best. A few stories were quite metaphorical, and many end abruptly. These are the ones I didn’t like as much. 

The stories were written over a period of three decades and have been arranged chronologically. You can see the development of the writer over the long time period. The stories at the end are much better composed than the initial ones. At the same time, I wish there were a reference to the year in which these stories were written, maybe right next to the title. That would have helped to connect their context with the specific year of their writing. 

The translation seemed to capture the writer’s intent well, though of course, I can’t comment on its merit without knowing the original work. 

Of the 36 stories, only 6 reached 4 stars or more for me. 10 stories came in the 3-3.5 star range. The rest were scattered across 1-2.5 stars. Thus this was a greatly mixed experience, mainly due to my personal disconnect with the writing style. My favourites were the title story, “Outdoor Sights”, and “Coming Home.”

2.5 stars, based on the average of my ratings for all the stories. 

My thanks to HarperCollins Publishers India and NetGalley for the DRC of “Baby Doll: Stories”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.
Was this review helpful?
I read this collection of short stories so quickly, I couldn't put them down. They were almost gothic in their exploration of loneliness and the affects that this can have on humans and their mental state. Thwere was so much crammed into this book from loneliness, to relationships with family and spouses, to family dynamics and the break down of families and the feelings that encompass these. 
I loved that there were references and allusions to the mythology and folklore of the authors culture as I have never read any Hindi mythology before and this has made me want to look more into that. 
All of the stories have a dark feeling towards them and I would be hard pushed to mention a favourite as they were all amazing. 
I will definitely be getting a physical copy of this and annotating it as well as recommending it to everyone I know. I need to read more by this author.
Was this review helpful?