Mridula Koshy’s Not Only The Things That Have Happened will be released in a few weeks. The book summarised: With her dying breath a mother dreams of reconciliation with the son she gave away when he was four years old; a world away the son is a grown man struggling to inhabit a life in which the past is an unknowable dream.
Out of Print knows Mridula’s work from her collection If It Is Sweet (Tranquebar Press, 2009). Our inaugural issue reprinted a story, The Good Mother from the collection, a close examination of a woman who, ‘At the end of her tenure as mother, … leaves Manchester for her parents' home in Dehra Dun to enact … a pilgrimage.’
We asked Mridula about the experience of writing a novel as opposed to short fiction.
MK: Certainly writing the novel was more of a slog when compared to the work of writing the short story, which springing from inspiration stays in that hallucinatory realm to the last line. However editing short stories individually and finally putting together a collection had some of the same slog factor as writing the novel. The novel fulfills a different ambition, it has a built in capacity for the panoramic view, which I wanted and needed to tell the particular story of 'Not Only the Things That Have Happened'. In this novel I got to cover roughly four decades in the lives of the two protagonists, in addition to wandering afield in the history-politics-culture of two societies, that of Kerala and the Midwestern United States and finally to take a hard look at the much romanticized institution of adoption . Both forms have the capacity for experimentation but the novel with its multitude of built in assumptions resists experimentation as the short story doesn't. The short story is ultimately the more honest of the two devices, less concerned with real time verisimilitude, the desire to imitate life or even plausibility.