I have nothing but admiration for this book. Voices in the Dark lends attention not only to the marginalized narratives about females, but also exposes the ominous workings of female psychology. A collection of stories written by established Nepali authors and translated into English, this book sheds light on the condition of women in our society and their acute misery. These stories are capable of releasing a whole gamut of emotions in the readers, from pity to outrage, from adulation to disdain. On the one hand, women are portrayed as the epitome of virtue, such as patience, sacrifice, duty, and wisdom. On the other, wickedness drips out of their very existence. Issues such as prostitution, girl trafficking, childlessness, divorce, class, health infirmities, insecurities, menstruation, infidelity, elopement, and habitual inner turmoil have been brought forth, making it all the more interesting and comprehensive.
Going through this anthology has been very memorable for me. I fell in love with some of the stories. There were humorous twists, touching moments, deliberately ambiguous endings, drama, cringe worthy developments, and romance. This book has led me to become more sensitive to, and sensible about, the various problems women face in our society. In a conservative society like ours, it is no secret that women are subjected to several hardships and harsh judgements solely on the basis of their gender. For some unfortunate women, life turns into a hellish nightmare. Female sexuality is clearly one of the most pressing themes of the book. In some stories, females are deprived of exploring and celebrating their sexuality, whereas, at times, women are shown controlling men using their sexuality. The vulnerability of female sexuality often becomes the basis on which the plot rests. This book fiercely attacks patriarchy. Why are women degraded into household slaves, pretty decorations, or mere pawns in the games of men? What about the meaning of the female experiences and lives? It makes you question and think (and not to forget, enjoy).
These stories have a way of coming alive and keeping you hooked till the last page. In these pages, I have discovered a world full of Nepali women, learning their habits and dispositions and their fates. The writing is simple, yet has amazing clarity. It is that moment when I met (and so can you) with the classics of Nepali literature, but in English. Now that I have got a taste of these brilliant writers, I feel I will pay more attention to their works when I come across them in book shops or libraries. But, this is a stupendous book, interwoven with remarkable tales of our women, alleys, families, beliefs, and mindsets. It mocks our tradition of demeaning women and makes us realize the sheer horror unleashed because of it. However, it also shows the turpitude that a woman’s heart can breed. This complicated portrayal makes it more realistic, and even more dynamic.
Reading it, women will discover kindred spirits, and men will begin to realize how different things are for their female counterparts. So, I would highly recommend this book to everyone, especially to men. It will make them understand and empathize.