A Night a Black Spider is a collection short stories by Ambai (the pseudonym C S Lakshmi). Originally written in Tamil, the stories in this anthology are translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, and they cover a range , from mythology to travel and loneliness. The protagonists are ; there are threads music and stringing events together; family and conflicts; and an exploration the psyche through various viewpoints. The translation reads smoothly, retaining the cadence of the Tamil language in English. A Night with a Black Spider begins with a reinterpretation of a tale from mythology — that of Mahishan’s defeat by Devi in A Love Story with a Sad Ending. In Ambai’s retelling, Mahishan is shown to be a love-struck, ambitious soul who wants to be romanced by Devi. And Devi, in this story, uses strong language, a particularly violent worldview, and sees herself as racially superior. Ravana’s Fortress its protagonist visiting Paris for a that did not go as she intended. For, she sought to about culture, and her words did not resonate as well as she’d hoped with her listeners. And, and they didn’t with […]

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