Body and Blood: Stories on Breaking the Ten Commandments
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What would happen if one did steal, commit adultery, covet one’s neighbour’s goods, even murder…and break all the rules we were taught to live by?
Each story in this first-of-its-kind collection takes you into a realm where people are prompted by love, desire, jealousy, hatred and, at times, a strange compassion, to throw out the old, conventional rules, and make their own. The title story, ‘Body and Blood’, is a macabre revelation of how far one can go when one loves someone before all others, even God; in ‘Honour. Or Not’, a young girl abused by her father since the age of thirteen finds a shockingly unexpected way of ‘honouring’ him when he dies.
In a lighter vein, the protagonist in ‘Sunday Snow Job’ asserts that working girls have to work, even on the Holy Sabbath, while Gomes in ‘Heart of Gold’ finds it is possible to covet your neighbour’s wife and get rich too. ‘Wakulla’ raises the question: can stealing be an act of compassion, and not a sin; while ‘Fall’ shows how one can make love to one’s best friend’s wife without actually committing adultery. And coveting your neighbour’s goods is fine—as long as they are the right ones, as ‘Elegy in a Churchyard’, the tenth story in this riveting collection, teaches us.
Urmilla Deshpande writes with panache and style to make this a collection of noir and black humour at its best, by turns erotic, tongue-in-cheek and shocking.
Urmilla Deshpande lives in Tallahassee. Her works include Slither: Carnal Prose, A Pack of Lies, and Kashmir Blues. She is working on her next novel, based on her grandmother, Irawati Karvé. Although Karvé went on to become a respected academic and award-winning writer, the novel is about her time as a PhD student in Weimar Berlin in the 1920s.