In 2019 Puja looks back to her youth in India, where a mentally disabled sweeper woman, auditions for a school dance/drama are the scene to determine who’s popular, attractive, and favored to get the main character role. Puja’s sister pregnant without a clear father, ambitions to study abroad, rivalry among siblings, and the bumpy road to adulthood. “Life is like a lottery with random numbers assigned to each of us. Some are fortunate enough to be winners, to have it all – love, luck, felicity, and prosperity. And others live and die in misery, never quite being able to hold on or to claim it as their own.” Is it God or karma? Love can make a difference, speak when others sit in silence, forgive, where others are harsh, and refuse to give in.
The novella The Intimacy of Loss set in India with a lot of Hindi expressions thrown into the narrative (endnotes are available to look up the English meaning). Poornima Manco’s English is rich and diverse, and her storytelling skills worth your reading time.
About the author
Always a voracious reader, Poornima Manco started writing at the age of eight and never really stopped, although there were many dry spells. She found her writing voice in 2009 when a short story of hers placed in an online competition run by The Guardian newspaper. Having re-discovered her first love, she started an online blog where she published many of her stories, thoughts, and musings to begin with.
In 2018, her short stories were compiled into two books. She has just released the third one in that trilogy. Presently at work on her fourth book of short stories, she has also published a novella in 2019.
Most of her tales are set in India as her formative years were spent there. Born and raised in New Delhi, she moved to the United Kingdom in her twenties. Yet, she has never been able to sever the umbilical cord that ties her to her birthplace.
She loves reading, traveling, and the company of good friends. She is married and has two teenage daughters.
I received a free advanced review copy from the Mango Tree Publications through booksirens.com in exchange for my personal, unbiased opinion upon reading.