She Speaks is an anthology containing 20 stories penned by Indian women writers living in India as well as across the globe. The reader will find a treasure of stories in the collection all about the trials and tribulations, the victories, the joys, the heartbreaking sorrows, the resentment and the gratitude, the forgiveness and hope.
Most of the writers, who joined this anthology project, came from diverse backgrounds like finance, marketing, science, engineering, management, art and literature. Each writer has come up with a unique voice, through the female protagonists.
The first three stories are set in India ( (one in Assam) and they describe the life of a woman married to a traditional family and what happens when a girl child is born. The next 17 stories are written by writers who live abroad and they mostly address themes of migration, cultural integration, the wonder of the new country and the yearning for the homeland, how in some cases the umbilical cord stretches from the homeland and holds back a young woman and refuses to let go.
The anthology also contains a science fiction. The last three stories in the book are reinterpretations of mythological stories set in contemporary settings. There is something in the anthology for every kind of reader. I liked reading these stories because I could relate to the feelings and emotions of the characters. Individual emotions of love, dying and trying to find and live a new life, of love which is of the family and for the family, of love between sisters, daughters for parents–all have been explored in the stories.
As we go through the anthology, we come across stories dealing with universal themes like anger, resentment, depression, joy, sadness, and how these emotions form the crux of the stories.
There are also certain themes which deals with the fundamental issues while simultaneously exploring critical fault lines in the society. These stories have the power to shape you, change you, lift you up and also break you down.
The different themes that this book touches in a sensitive yet realistic way made me adore it. You could tell that the authors were careful with their words and made sure they didn’t scare you or make you feel overwhelmed, just made sure to express their thoughts in an honest way that you can appreciate and relate to without feeling like it too much.
The undertone of the stories is that women are unbound, unstoppable. Women can seek closure and have new beginnings. She has the right to live, to fulfill her dreams, to rise in love and also to fall, to move on , to find herself, to take her rightful place and to glow with fire and therefore she speaks.
In the world where women are still fighting for their basic rights, here is the group of Indian origin women emerging from the various part of the world and coming together helping each other to pen down their imagination.
It was and will remain a perfect example of women coming together in the support of each other, to empower each other and hold each other up. All the voices in the stories are unique and authentic. These are the stories of women who are caught up in the chores of multiple responsibilities and commitments they often do not take up the pen and hence they are often written about rather than writing.
Though many of them are first time writers, yet they were able to debunk their message through the stories. And who will be more efficient than women to express their feelings and experiences? As I have already mentioned that some of the women writers are showing their creative side for the first time, there is a scope of improvement in the plot of the stories.
Yet it’s an impressive first attempt which deserves encouragement and appreciations. They have endeavored to remain true to their voices. She Speaks has a definitive voice and a unique perspective.