From a distance everything looks different, everything looks okay. Such is a man’s world. From a distance, you think he has a lesser range of emotions than a woman, or rather society has led us to believe that. But as you take a closer look, you will find a melange of emotions. All in all, the book shows you how complex, yet simple men can be. This book brings you multiple short stories of human beings dealing with life as they know it. Their stories don’t praise them, but show them in their most honest way.
Immoderate Men features stories about men from all sections of society, from all ages too. You feel the loneliness of a grandfather, and the despair of a married man who finds his world crumbling down. And even though the men in these stories are the protagonists, Shikhandin’s women characters are quite impressive too.
A few stories into the book, you’ll find yourself wondering if the author is a man or a woman. Once you know your answer, you can draw your own baseless conclusions about why the author has said this about men or that about women. But gender is what the author probably wants you to forget and look at the characters as human beings. Going a step further, the author has adopted a pseudonym to hide their identity.
The pseudonym, Shikhandin, is a character from the Mahabharata who was born as a daughter to King Dhrupada, but Lord Shiva promised that child would have a sex change later in her life. The pseudonym represents gender fluidity, and so everything that you know about being a man or being a woman needs to be put aside before you dive into this stack of stories.
If you have lived in Bengal, this book will smell like home. The stories deal with customs, rituals, and general way of life in the state. Meals are incomplete without fish. Jamai Shashti is expected to be a grand celebration and there is adda at the tea shop. The writing, in itself, is delightful.
The author can be followed on Twitter @purplesaga