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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
The Other Shore is a medley of twenty short stories penned by Madhu Bazaz Wangu. The stories belong to and are arranged according to their primary genres, spanning magical realism, inspirational, women’s fiction, and romance. Some stories are spiritual, based on divine characters, while others narrate the life stories of a few ordinary people. A medical student forges a unique connection with nature that makes her alter the course of her life. In another story, a small bird rejuvenates an ailing character. Somewhere else, a newly married woman is forced to choose death over a tormented life among her in-laws. In another story, a couple rediscovers their love when faced with a natural calamity. Some stories underscore the amalgamation of different cultures and religions.
Each story resembled a precious jewel, unique in its beautiful appearance while reflecting underlining nuances upon close perusal. I was amazed at the versatility of the genres, especially since Madhu Bazaz Wangu proved to be equally masterful in all of them. The Other Shore held special appeal to me because, being Indian myself, I could relate to the cultural and social aspects mentioned here. “The Dowry Brides” discussed the abhorrent yet still prevalent practices of dowry and bride-burning. “Beggar Woman” and “Revenge” authentically reflected the plight of the poor and uneducated people. In contrast, the magical realism stories exuded a blissful, soothing vibe. Accepting the loss of a loved one and overcoming the resultant grief served as a common theme in a few tales. Also, “Unfulfilled Dream” and “The Blackened Mirror” highlighted the importance of realizing one’s true self and following one’s heart. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone looking for an uplifting and enriching read.