Fantasy, Short Stories

Not So Stories by Adiwijaya Iskandar; Joseph Elliott-Coleman; Raymond Gates; Zina Hutton; Georgina Kamsika; Cassandra Khaw; Paul Krueger; Stewart Hotston; Tauriq Moosa; Jeannette Ng; Ali Nouraei; Zedeck Siew; Wayne Santos; Achala Upendran

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I do not remember reading the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, but I must have done because I felt a hint of recognition at the tone of some of the stories. I liked the content of the foreword, but I think that also set my bar incredibly high about what I was to encounter next.

The stories did not follow the set pattern that I was almost expecting, there was no cohesive narrative pattern. Some did seem like origin stories, but others were just stories based in different times and different places written by people who have seen what the colonial influence does to local traditions and the stories that go with it. I will not try to review them separately because they were many and too varied. I think it’s for more adventurous people than me. I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would (as mentioned earlier about the foreword). The individual authors did a great job individually, and I do not believe it would be ‘suitable for children considering the language used in some stories, but for adults, it would be entertaining. I would have actually loved it if these authors had actually tackled the ‘origin’ narrative like how the animals supposedly became the way they were. The book can raise an exciting conversation for people who think they can add a different focus to narratives to show the other side instead of the version of the victors/more powerful people. Still, I do not think this collection achieves that ambition entirely.

I received an ARC thanks to Netgalley and the publishers but my review (as is obvious) is completely based on my own reading experience.

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