“THE SACRIFICE: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES,” BY INDRAJIT GARAI
PUBLICATION: INDRAJIT GARAI; AUGUST 25, 2016
In this collection, meet:
Guillaume, who gives up everything to protect his child; young Mathew, who stakes his life to save his home; and François, who makes the biggest sacrifice to rescue his grandson.
“The Sacrifice” is a wonderful collection of short stories by Indrajit GARAI that I finally got to read today after receiving a review request in November. I am so sorry for the delay and was truly wowed by the writing in these stories. The stories included are The Move, The Listener, and The Sacrifice.
The Move is the story of a farmer named Guillaume and his son Hugo. Guillaume, like many other farmers in his area, is struggling to make ends meet and keep his farm running. Although primarily a dairy farm, they also have a goat, a cat, and a dog named Mustang. The story focuses on Guillaume trying to get money owed to him from the various milk buyers, trying to keep his farm running, and also take care of his son. He is offered various jobs elsewhere but continues trying to hold onto his farm as long as he can. When a cattle sale deal goes unpaid and his animals become ill, everything starts to fall apart within Hugo. The best way to sum it all up is that everything goes wrong for this poor man and his son, but in the end, we learn that things aren’t always as bad as they initially appear.
The Listener is about a young boy named Mathew who frequently retreats into the forest to “his tree,” where he finds peace and calm not otherwise in his life. His best friend is somewhat of a delinquent and he also questions the love of his mother due to her new relationship with his teacher and her interest in sending Mathew to boarding school. When the local government begins chopping down trees in the area, Mathew fights for what he believes and tries to protect his beloved tree. During the process, he learns about victories, defeats, and relationships.
The Sacrifice is a sweet story about an older man, Francois, who was once a famous writer but has struggled over the past few years. Francois is raising his grandson, Arthur, due to his daughter/Arthur’s mother attempting suicide and suffering from mental illness. Francois loves having Arthur and Arthur loves being there with his grandfather, despite their financial struggles. As the story progresses and Arthur helps his grandfather get his newest manuscript published, they each make secret sacrifices for the other and put each other first. Francois’ only concern is Arthur and that he be taken care of, as where Arthur only wants his grandfather to be happy and know how appreciated and admired he is.
I think my favorite of these stories was The Move. It was easy for me to identify with because of the overwhelming love of animals present in that story, the struggles of farmers (my own grandfather was a farmer), and that it was about a Dad raising his child alone (I lived with my Dad growing up). The animals were such a strong presence in this story, but the overall theme was one of love, devotion, and how much we need each other in this world in order to feel complete – whether human or animal. I also loved The Sacrifice and the amazing bond and love between Francois and Arthur. Although like The Move, there were some heart-wrenching moments, the story left me with an overall peaceful feeling and admiration for the characters. I was not as crazy about The Listener, but still loved the overall theme of fighting for what is important.
Indrajit GARAI’s writing is absolutely stunning in all three of the stories. The words flow easily and keep your mind going the entire time as you consider each of the characters and their circumstances. I also loved the somewhat gray areas in each story that prompt the reader to think and reach their own conclusions, rather than just clear cut resolutions or summaries. These stories are full of emotion and thought-provoking events, not to mention incredible language and imagery. It was an absolute pleasure reading these short stories and I sincerely hope to read more from this author in the future.
*I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.