My short interview with Shinie Antony. Shinie Antony is a short-story writer. Her books include Barefoot and Pregnant, Seance on a Sunday Afternoon and Why We Don’t Talk. She won the Commonwealth Short Story Asia region prize in 2003 for her story A Dog’s Death. She is a co-founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival and editor of the festival magazine Beantown. You will find my short story published in this anthology, posted next on the blog.
Q: What was the thought behind putting together the book of short stories Why We Don’t Talk?
Shinie: To showcase relevant short story writers along with stories by contemporary novelists. The book has a foreword by Shashi Deshpande, a maestro of both short and long fiction, and stories by Usha KR, Jahnavi Barua, Chetan Bhagat, Jaishree Misra, Susan Visvanathan etc.
Q: Why the title?
Shinie: The power of secrets, of what we don’t come out and say, the unsaid. For instance, Jahnavi’s story delves into what a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law keep in their mind about each other, Jaishree’s goes into an old family secret and Madhavi Mahadevan’s story ‘Sweet Dish’ unveils a dark spot in someone’s memory, a knowledge she holds unwillingly within her.
Q: Would you say the theme of ‘Sweet Dish’ – family suicides – has been dealt with adequately in the story?
Shinie: It is a brilliant handling of the theme. Family suicides per se are a sad phenomenon and headlines are full of them, but to go behind the deed, examine motives and deliver a non-judgemental fictional narrative along with a spectacular twist in the tail that is quintessentially Indian must have been a challenge for the writer.