Set in the early nineteenth century, A Tapestry of Tears is about female infanticide, and the unmaking of tradition. If a woman gives birth to a female child, she must feed her the noxious sap of the akk plant. That is the tradition, parampara. Veeranwali rebels, and fights to save her offspring.
The other stories span a spectrum of emotions and also bring to life the varied culture and social spectrum of India. Woven into this collection is the past and the present, despair and hope, and the triumph of the human spirit.
A Tapestry of Tears is a collection of short stories that explores human nature through the lens of Indian culture.
“It’s normal not to be perfect.”
As with any anthology, some stories were stronger than others, but as a whole Reddy’s writing flowed well and was decidedly readable. She explores variety of themes, including love, family, marriage, honor, betrayal, regret, oppression, communication, and so much more. Many of the stories were powerful in their own right, and compiling them together only served to enhance that feeling.
Although I enjoyed most of the stories, the title story, A Tapestry of Tears, was my favorite. At a full quarter of the book, it was the longest and most fleshed out, allowing the reader to go deeper with the characters and their struggles. This particular story focused on female infanticide, a practice that is incredibly more commonplace and widespread than I realized. Reading this was an eye-opening, emotional, and heartbreaking experience that paved the way into the rest of the book.
While the cultural lens for this book is Indian as that is the author’s background, the themes are so universal that you’d be hard pressed not to get something out of it. Definitely recommended.
*Many thanks to the author for providing this edition in exchange for an honest review.