INDIA GRAY by Sujata Massey
This collection consists of two novellas and two short stories. Both novellas, Outnumbered at Oxford and The Ayah’s Tale are peopled by well formed characters and have detailed and nuanced plots with introduction, plot development and conclusion. Outnumbered at Oxford introduces characters found in the full length novel, THE WIDOWS OF MALABAR HILL. The two short stories are quite brief and include only one incident with little characterization. India Gray is the much more satisfying story for both character and plot. Bitter Tea simply leaves one wanting more.
Outnumbered at Oxford gives the reader of MALABAR HILL the back story of what transpired during Perveen’s banishment to England and introduces Alice, Perveen’s good friend, who has a role in MALABAR HILL. Both women find themselves bending the strict rules at St. Hilda’s College to solve the disappearance of a mathematical paper and a young man.
The Ayah’s Tale is a treatise on social class, including the vast social differences between Indians (in their own country) and English colonists during a time of growing desire for Indian independence. It leaves the reader wanting another tale to fill in the gap between the story and the epilogue.
The writing and research involved for all four tales is detailed and gives depth and interest to each story. A good introduction to an excellent writer.
5 of 5 stars