Anosh Irani | Translations from the GibberishReviewed by: Danni Crenna
Biography Brief: Anosh Irani was born and brought up in Mumbai and moved to Vancouver in 1998. He has published four critically acclaimed novels: The Cripple and His Talismans, a national bestseller; The Song of Kahunsha, a finalist for Canada Reads and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; Dahanu Road which was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize; and The Parcel, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and more. It was chosen as one of the best books of the year by the Globe and Mail, National Post, the CBC, The Walrus, and Quill and Quire. He has published many acclaimed plays and had short stories that appeared in Granta and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and his nonfiction has been published in the New York Times. His work has been translated into eleven languages, and he teaches Creative Writing at SFU. His latest book of short stories, Translated from the Gibberish, features seven fictional tales of characters living between two worlds, India and Canada, much like Irani himself.
This book calls itself “Seven Stories and One Half-Truth”. The half-truth brackets the stories with an account of the author’s life in Mumbai and Vancouver and his decision to emigrate as a young man. The stories include the theme of emigration and living in two worlds, no longer truly belonging in either, which the author also seems to experience in his real life.
The stories are superbly written, spell-binding; but so dark as to be included in the genre of horror stories. It is fascinating to see ordinary life become the stuff of nightmares through tiny shifts, twists of fate. The subjects vary quite widely but each story has at its core, the essential element which is the seed of its own ultimate disaster. Not a cheerful or lighthearted book, but fascinating.