Boats on Land – Janice Pariat
Boats on Land is a collection of short stories that offer a new way of looking at the world, and, in particular, India’s little-known northeast. Set in and around Shillong, Cherrapunjee and pockets of Assam, these tales are shaped against a larger historical canvas of the early days of the British Raj, the World Wars, conversions to Christianity, and the missionaries.
Spanning a sweep of centuries, from the mid-1800s to the present day, the stories work as a historical, sociological documentation of a place and its people, interweaving the quotidian and the mythic, the mundane and the extraordinary.
This is a world in which every day is infused with folklore and a deep belief in the supernatural. Here, a girl dreams of being a firebird. An artist watches souls turn into trees. A man shape-shifts into a tiger. Another is bewitched by water fairies. Political struggles and social unrest interweave with fireside tales and age-old superstitions.