The Japanese Wife
by Kunal Basu
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An Indian man writes to a Japanese woman. She writes back. Romance blossoms between the two, the pen-friends exchange vows over letters, then spend the next fifteen years as a married couple without ever setting eyes on each other, until the intimacy of words is tested finally by the intimacy of life. Like 'the Japanese Wife', the other stories in this collection are also about residents and non-residents. In 'Grateful Ganga', an American rock queen shares her love tunes with a Punjabi businessman even as she mourns her dead husband; in 'Snakecharmer', a retired Israeli American professor arrives in India with the intention of committing suicide, only to be saved by a snakecharmer's daughter. Father tito, the emigre Yugoslav of Father tito's Onion Rings, is haunted by the Holocaust as he intercedes between Hindu and Muslim rioters. the stories here are about unexpected love and accidental gifts; about finding oneself among strangers; about living elsewhere and living in one's dreams. they parade a full cast of priests, whores, rebels, dead emperors, bush soldiers, poachers, conmen and connoisseurs - angels and demons rubbing shoulders with those whose lives are never quite as ordinary as they seem.
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