I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.
Author Indrajit Garai presents three short stories in volume 1 of his short story collections: The Sacrifice. Like many of the collections of short stories I have read over the course of the past couple of months, Indrajit Garai uses a powerful theme to tie the collection together. Each contemporary short story embodies the theme of sacrifice in different ways. Each story brings up the questions: what would I sacrifice for? And how much? Would I sacrifice for my work? My home? My Family? The three stories are titled simply: The Move, The Listener, and The Sacrifice.
The Move follows a dairy farmer in France, Guillaume, struggling as an independent operation against the mega farm corporations. Guillaume is mainly struggling financially, trying to keep his farm afloat. The fair trade organization he is a part of has not paid the farmers according to what they said and Guillaume has little luck speaking with the director of the organization. His main concern is with his son. Guillaume wants to be able to provide a safe and secure home for his son, but feels like he cannot unless he changes something drastic. He thinks about changing fair trade orgs, he even talks about making cheese. Without spoiling the entire story, Guillaume has to make a sacrifice, a move, in order to support his family. The piece of the story that frustrated me was how Guillaume refers to his son as weak. Ughhhhhh. I understand how this idea of gender roles is ingrained in our cultures and sometimes they can be used to show a powerful counter narrative. But in this case, I did not think there was any commentary on gender and gender roles to counter the dialogues on weakness. I found the story compelling but could not get past that aspect while reading.
The Listener was a very powerful read, full of emotions. Matthew is growing up in a challenging environment and finds a connection with and peace in nature. In particular, Matthew finds a tree in the middle of a forest – his tree. Through the story, the forest is slowly getting cut down and the agency responsible refuses to stop their actions. The story climaxes around Matthews tree and left me as a reader emotionally drained. As much as this is about nature, it is also about the relationship between Matthew and his mother. Big questions are asked about trust, family, standing up for what is right, and of course… home.
The Sacrifice is my favorite story in the collection. Taking on the name of the collection itself, I felt this story illustrated the epitome of sacrifice. François is an author who wrote a best selling book and has lived off the royalties of his book for a while now, also supporting his grandson Arthur. His last couple of books has not sold well. He is currently writing a new book with feedback from Arthur, but his current publishing company is ignoring him and still holding his contract over his head. François sees an opportunity to publish his book through another company but gets stuck in the middle of the legalities of contacts. His ultimate sacrifice for his grandson to me is unrelated to his book but related to supporting Arthur. That piece of the story was a little abrupt for me and while it showed the commitment François had for his grandson, I was expecting a sacrifice more connected to the publishing issues. Regardless, this short story has stuck with me weeks after reading.
Overall, I enjoyed the collection with the final two short stories being my favorite. Indrajit Garai has a sparse writing style which I think works well in the collection. This is labeled as volume one so I can only assume he will be writing and publishing more short story collections, which I will look forward to! This collection was independently published last year and a digital copy can be found through Amazon.
Final Review: 3.8/5