In her debut book Fly on the Wall and Other Stories, author and civil servant, Shubha Sarma examines different facets of life’s narrative with detachment, precision and compassion. The subjects range from up-market, urban settings to the depths of rural Odisha and areas of civil strife and deep social unrest. The narrative strings together anxious house-wives, over-imaginative teenagers and men and women in the sunset of their lives. There is Dipankar, yearning for Assam and returning to discover that he is a stranger in his own land and the beautiful Uma, mysteriously killed and awaiting justice; there is Arun craving parental affection and Shikha, defying social mores. They are people one encounters everyday on the bus, the metro and at times, the mirror. Each story is uniquely crafted with an ingenuous sense of structural balance. As a whole, this assortment of tales with a twist brings to life the realities and contradiction of India and makes it an enchanting collection of highly readable short stories.
“A compelling read, overflowing with acutely-observed, cleverly-plotted, artlessly-told stories that hold your attention from the first to the last, Fly on the Wall marks a remarkable debut by a gifted storyteller of undoubted promise. I look forward to more from her pen.” — Dr. Shashi Tharoor
“This intriguing debut collection of short stories displays craft, discipline and narrative strength. “ — Namita Gokhale