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The Tale Retold is as much about story-telling as it is about finding stories in situations where they may not easily be found. The title story examines with great sympathy the equations between a mother who feels helpless and hopeful in turns, a child who slowly comes to terms with his disability and a society which values ‘soundness’ above all and makes no space for the differently abled. ‘In Quest of a Story’ follows a middle-aged, retired man on his obsessive pursuit of a writer in the hope that he will become a subject of her narrative. A mother writes ‘A Letter to Mrs D’ Souza’, the principal of her daughter’s school, in which she tries to negotiate some space for herself in a society where anything less than complete devotion to one’s children is construed as culpable neglect. Alka Saraogi understands the undercurrents of the human mind and engages easily with the inner worlds of her characters. Her ability to look for the extraordinary within the ordinary and to elegantly shatter seemingly permanent stereotypes makes The Tale Retold an unforgettable collection. Printed Pages: 168.