Shikhandin’s new collection of short stories called Impetuous Women is a slow, quiet, exploration of the relationships, situations, experiences that many women find themselves in. It is “slow”, not necessarily in the pace of the storytelling, but the nature of the lives the women live. The incidents that are focussed upon in the stories are so ordinary and yet Shikhandin, gets the tiny twists brilliantly. She gets their scheming, viciousness, spunkiness and sometimes the despairing loneliness of the women very well. These are stories of women who mill around us all day, or perhaps is one of us readers too. Who knows? There are always little jolts of recognition, in terms of characterisation, attitudes, comments, scenarios and reactions that make one wonder if these stories are truly figments of Shikhandin’s imagination or not?
There can never be enough of women’s writing. There are always more and more spaces that need to be explored. The true beauty of these stories lies in Shikhandin’s acute observation of her womens’ characters personalities and the manner in which they act with other women. She gets their pathetic snarkiness in trying to playing one upmanship, the friction other women can create within a man-woman relationship, the physically and emotionally exhausting lives women lead without ever being able to truly comfortable in their marital homes — “wondering how your position was any better than that of a refugee”.
Impetuous Women will make a perfect companion volume to Shikhandin’s previous short story collection called, Immoderate Men“. The ease and yet, intensity, with which she inhabits the minds of her characters and flits between genders, creating characters with empathy, is probably explained by her strong belief and the selection of her nom de plume, Shikhandin, that “the writer in me doesn’t have a gender, or is made up of all the genders“. ( 12 Sept 2017)
Impestuous Women is a remarkable collection. Read it.
9 April 2021