I was kindly sent a free copy of this book via the author Pratap Reddy for a review. ‘Weather Permitting & Other Stories’ is a collection of contemporary short stories with an interesting theme, here is my review:
Life isn’t always what you’d expect when you leave the country, full of dreams and hopes for a better one on a new soil. Reality can be anything but a dream and life as an immigrant can be very different from what you expected.
‘Weather Permitting & Other Stories’ is a collection of stories about different people settling into immigrant life in Canada. The author Pratap Reddy, being an immigrant himself, has written this collection all focused around Indian immigrants in Canada. Being the daughter of Polish immigrants into the UK, and knowing some of the struggles my family has had in finding work and being accepted, I was keen to read this book.
I have to say I enjoyed this collection of stories and it grew on me the more I read. The book focuses on Indians living their new lives in Canada but what I liked is that most of the stories are more about relationships and dealing with difficult circumstances. You don’t have to have gone though the difficulties of emigrating to feel for the characters in these stories. Most of the tales are about the immigrants who have moved to Canada, some being there longer than others, but I liked the fact that other stories dealt with what happened back in India, to those left behind and the story titled ‘The Tamarind Relish’ did a good job of showing what the separation did, and I liked the ending of that one though it was a bit weird.
There are twelve stories in the collection. There are a mixture of first and third person perspectives and some of the stories are also in the present tense, though most are not. I’m not a fan of the present tense especially when two of the stories, told in past tense, suddenly switched to this present tense when concluding. Perhaps it was for the effect of showing that it was now and not the past but it felt a little jarring for me. The first story in the collection is told entirely in the present tense and although I enjoyed the tale I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other stories due to how rushed it felt at times and I would recommend reading another story or two before deciding whether you like this book.
Not all the stories have a happy ending, some do and are light hearted while others are quick to end and leave you shocked but despite this they all have what I’d call a decent ending. I’ve read many short stories over the years and sometimes there isn’t a real ending to the stories and abrupt as some of these may be, they all do have a good and decent ending. ‘Weather Permitting’ is my favourite. It focuses on the reality of life as an immigrant and it’s not only a good story for people to read to learn the harsh truth of what moving to the west can be like, but it also has a great story and I liked the character of Maya and what happened at the end.
‘For a Place in the Sun’ is an interesting final story and it feels like the author may have put a lot of personal experience into the tale as it is about Ananth, a writer desperate to make it in Canada.
Only one story contains any swearing. ‘That Which is Written’ contains occasional use of the f and s words but there is good reason for this and I really liked the ending of this tale and would say it’s a second favourite of mine.
Overall I would recommend this book. At 200 pages it’s not too long a read and it certainly grows on you the more you read. All of the stories have characters that anyone can relate to and you end up feeling for many of them through their struggles and triumphs. All of the stories are stand alone too, but there’s another fun aspect in this book. If you read them in order you’ll see a few of the same characters making brief appearances in other stories. This character linking made me enjoy this all the more and I’d certainly look forward to more stories from this author.
The stories in this collection centre around new immigrants ? spirited people who are prepared to leave their home and hearth to travel to distant lands to pursue their dreams of a better life. But often times there?’ a reality check , and they are left to grapple with unexpected challenges of cultural shock, paucity of jobs, lack of Canadian work experience, absence of affordable daycare, and non-recognition of their educational credentials. Though the accounts are fictional they show the determination of new immigrants to survive on alien soil.