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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
Pebbles in a Stream by Nadia Grosser Nagarajan is a motley collection of twenty-two short stories. Starring diverse characters from different nationalities or cultures, each story narrates a unique tale. Somewhere, an elderly woman will go to extreme lengths to procure a serene final resting place for herself. In another, a spirit will enable a woman to feel alive and start her life afresh. A strange friendship will develop between a man and a frog, or between a car and a steel pot. Not all the stories promised a satisfying end, and quite a few of them indeed took unexpected turns and left the reader puzzled. Much like the colorful pebbles you might find dotting a stream, this unusual collection brought with it a sense of diversity.
Pebbles in a Stream presented stories of varying length and encompassed a vast array of topics, some mundane and some with an otherworldly twist. The cast of characters included men, women, animals, devils and spirits, even inanimate objects. The tales were often whimsical, much like their protagonists, fuelling readers’ fancy. A few of them described profound, life-altering circumstances that constituted a thought-provoking read. In contrast, some were merely snippets from ordinary life, some with despicable characters with questionable choices. Yet, most of them featured a deep love or friendship. My personal favorites were “Bluestocking,” “Three Little Devils,” and “An Elephant Named Yanko.” The beauty of Nadia Grosser Nagarajan’s collection is in its accurate portrayal of life, often banal yet incorporating extraordinary moments in its intricate weave.