Editor's Note
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There were moments during the curating of Out of Print 14 that we contemplated imposing a theme on the issue. We might have been able to focus on stories that offer a view of paper-laden structures of power and bureaucracy. Alternatively the issue could have featured stories of murder and detection alongside chilling tales of terror and of the supernatural. But, however seductive the idea of a subject-driven edition, in the end we chose works with no specific coherence other than that they represent a sample of bold and well-structured writing.

 

There is some similarity in the way our stories play with the balance between the character’s perceptions of their place in a narrative and the reality of the emotional landscape that drives the work. In Death of a Clerk by Tulsi Charan Bisht, the illusion is vindicated; convinced he is capable of extraordinary things, Manohar Pandit, strives to rise above his position as an upper division clerk in the Post Office. Ultimately he proves himself by correctly predicting the date and time of his death. The grand old man of the village in Sashikanta Mishra’s The Prop cannot conceive of letting go of his place of power even when incapacitated by a fall. When he must eventually abdicate, he justifies it to himself by emphasising his importance in his own mind. Sheila Kumar’s Tryst is set at a lake in the Nilgiris where a young couple are on a romantic picnic. They are attacked by machete wielding men, and in the fear and violence that follows, their relationship with their attackers, with each other, and with their potential romance is thrown open. In Boby Mohan’s Babu, the straightforward viewpoint of the protagonist gives him a sense of satisfaction, a feeling that his years of hard work in Jeddah, far away from his native Kozhikode are justified. There is no hint of how he will handle the perturbation of that equilibrium except through his resilience in the face of earlier adversity.

 

Our two other stories draw the reader into the emotional landscapes of the respective pieces. It is Khilawan Singh’s first homicide in Anjali Deshpande’s The Post Modern Murder. And he solves it with a brilliant stroke that defies the imagination and rises above the obfuscations of the University in which it is set. Rohini Manyam Seshasayee’s Canonball is about a young woman who metamorphoses when watching a sports game. The reader is pulled into the strong edgy tale when she literally ‘becomes the ball’ at Wimbledon.

 

Ram Sadasiv, who joined us at the end of the last issue, will now be part of the editorial team. A writer and a musician, he brings a keen sharp style of cutting to the core of a story. We are glad to welcome him.

 

We continue to post updates on the Out of Print Blog, and on Facebook, and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

The cover design by Yamuna Mukherjee contains images from a piece of Kalamkari or crafted-by-pen fabric depicting stories from Indian mythology. The artwork, entitled Underfoot and Overhead, is by Yamini Nayar and takes its name from a line of Rudyard Kipling poem entitled A Song of the White Men.

Yamini Nayar was born in Rochester, NY in 1975, and raised outside Detroit, MI. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, where she currently serves as a thesis advisor.

Nayar has participated in residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2011-12), New York University (2011-12), the Center for Photography at Woodstock (2010), Art Academy of Cincinnati (2010). She has exhibited her work internationally at venues including the Indian Art Summit, 2014, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA, 2013, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia, 2012, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA, 2012, Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, UAE, 2011, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH, 2010, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK, 2010, Exit Art, New York, NY, 2007, and the Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY, 2005. Nayar's work is included in numerous public and private collections, including the Saatchi Museum, Queensland Art Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum, Queens Museum and US Arts in Embassies. Her work has been featured in publications and magazines that include Unfixed: Postcolonial Photography in Contemporary Art, Jap Sam Books, 2013 and Manual for Treason: Sharjah Biennial, 2011, the New York Times, New Yorker Magazine, Art India, Artforum, Art in America, Frieze, Vogue India, Artpapers, and Art Economist. She is the recipient of a 2014 Art Matters grant for research and production.

Nayar's work is represented by Thomas Erben in New York and Jhaveri Contemporary in Mumbai.

 

 

Selected stories may contain language or details that could be viewed as offensive. Readers below 18 are cautioned to use discretion. Views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily supported by Out of Print.