‘No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories’ by Jayant Kaikini: Seeping into the Surreal

by Cade Johnson

Jayant Kaikini’s No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories (274 pages; Catapult; translated by Tejaswini Niranjana), originally published in 2017 and translated into English this year, strikes the balance between dense and utterly readable,  bending reality into the surreal until the unfamiliar becomes familiar again. In his introductory note, prolific translator Niranjana indicates her primary challenge was “to maintain the ordinariness of the narrative until it could be maintained no longer,” and then articulate the shift when the “surreal began to seep into the story.” The first story in the book’s collection, “Interval,” speaks to this quality: it’s a romance between Nandu, […]

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