Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Review - Talking Tales

Talking Tales is the fifth short story anthology from FEMRITE - Uganda Women Writers' Association and the result of writings from a creative writing workshop which was facilitated by Prof. Tayari Jones. There are twenty short stories and 19 poems in Talking Tales. The themes range from the sentiments of real life to the fictional characters we create. Most of the stories capture the reader from line one right till the end and some suffer from some of the problems of short stories; they take off but stay mid air and fail to have reasonable and sound endings. A few of the stories are by new and emerging authors and each one of them is attempting to use this publication as a launch pad to literary success.

cover of Talking Tales
19 poems are also included at the end of the book and one wonders if that did not take away something from the book. This coming from a workshop, there is definitely a big improvement in the quality of writing as compared to the usual creative writing text from Ugandan women.

A Brush with Death is the premier story and rightly so. The story is captivating and describes the lingering moment between life and death as told by an accident victim. The description was so good I envisioned the whole episode and yet for some reason the ending does not serve justice to the beginning.
Paddling is a neatly told story about two parallel lives in two different places that are connected by a love gone wrong and the repercussion that one of them pays.
The comedy and light hearted moments present throughout Kekeyu are a wonderful delight for amusement reading.

A personal favourite is Warped Justice which is about a young man who is an outcast and has been ‘black-marked’ by the village folk for being weird, his attempted revenge and sudden misfortune again. The tone of the story is consistent and wonderful plus the simple humour is top notch.
If you want to know about misconceived romance Afraid of my love is the perfect story.

There are two stories written as letters and two about child sacrifice. Strange? Perhaps the former is some kind of campaign we were not told about.
I hope that one day we shall have personal short story collections from some of these authors. There are 2 or 3 stories that fall short of expectations but nonetheless Talking Tales  is a good read worthy of recommendation.

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