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Kleptomania

Kleptomania

Manjula Padmanabhan
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Overview

Sheila, ever the good host—the epitome of grace and discretion—is at a loss when she notices Mrs Vakil slip something into her purse from the dinner table. Unable to focus on anything else after this brazen act, polite conversation about writers and their art somehow becomes about kleptomania and how writers are compulsive kleptomaniacs who just can’t help themselves but pick out stories and characters for their books from real people and their lives. As the conversation builds into the moral implications of such behaviour, questions about materialism and the ‘Indian way’ of honoring the obligations of hospitality over mere possessions are raised. Unbenownst to them all, however, something dark is simmering even as seemingly innocuous conversations continue.

What would you do if your most precious possession was taken from you? Would you be able to merely write it off, unwordly, as our culture wants us to be or be vindictive, hoping to avenge your loss? By the end of a not-so-harmless dinner party, Sheila is forced to face up to these questions, not quite knowing where to go from here.

Dark, layered and heartbreakingly subversive, Manjula Padmanabhan’s Kleptomania is short fiction at its literary best.

Imprint: Penguin

Published: Jan/2018

Length : 15 Pages

Kleptomania

Manjula Padmanabhan
Overview

Sheila, ever the good host—the epitome of grace and discretion—is at a loss when she notices Mrs Vakil slip something into her purse from the dinner table. Unable to focus on anything else after this brazen act, polite conversation about writers and their art somehow becomes about kleptomania and how writers are compulsive kleptomaniacs who just can’t help themselves but pick out stories and characters for their books from real people and their lives. As the conversation builds into the moral implications of such behaviour, questions about materialism and the ‘Indian way’ of honoring the obligations of hospitality over mere possessions are raised. Unbenownst to them all, however, something dark is simmering even as seemingly innocuous conversations continue.

What would you do if your most precious possession was taken from you? Would you be able to merely write it off, unwordly, as our culture wants us to be or be vindictive, hoping to avenge your loss? By the end of a not-so-harmless dinner party, Sheila is forced to face up to these questions, not quite knowing where to go from here.

Dark, layered and heartbreakingly subversive, Manjula Padmanabhan’s Kleptomania is short fiction at its literary best.

Select Preferred Format

Manjula Padmanabhan

Manjula Padmanabhan (b. 1953), is a writer and artist living in New Delhi. Her books include Hot Death, Cold Soup (Kali for Women, 1996), Getting There (Picador India, 1999) and This is Suki! (Duckfoot Press, 2000). Harvest (Kali for Women, 1998 and subsequently in three separate international anthologies), her fifth play, won the 1997 Onassis Award for Theatre. She has illustrated twenty-two books for children including, most recently, her own first novel for children, Mouse Attack (Macmillan Children's Books, UK, 2003; Picador India, 2004). Her comic strips appeared weekly in The Sunday Observer (Bombay, 1982-86) and daily in The Pioneer (New Delhi, 1991-97). Her most recent exhibition was of etchings and lithographs (London, December 2003).

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