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My Rating - 5 out of 5 stars

Publisher - Notion Press
Genre - Fiction/Short Stories
Publishing year - 2020
Language - English
ISBN - 978-1636692616
Pages - 95 

My Review - 

The Goddess's Homecoming consists of five compact narratives penned by Nibedita Deb. The plot of the stories revolves around the Durga puja and the different parts of West Bengal. The tales reflect multiple aspects of women's lives, just like Goddess Durga. The author lives in the City of Joy, Kolkata, and she understands the significance of Durga Ashtami, and it shows in her narrations from start to end. 

Goddess Durga is known for slaying evil and defending the helpless. She is an embodiment of strength and courage. The protagonist of each story also portrays the same courage that determines their future. The five stories follow five important days of Navratri (Indian festival) as Shoshti, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Dashmi. The author chooses the title of her stories that correlate with the days mentioned above, and it was brilliant and impressed me.

The stories are woven to attest that every woman can embrace her path no matter how hard it is. They are competent to face the beasts, and when the right time comes, they can slaughter them too. In India, where people pray to a Goddess for nine days and seek blessings from the girl children during Navratri, women are disrespected, raped, and killed every day. 

In the first story, The Sixth Element, Mohuli's husband remarries because she cannot conceive. Due to her poor financial state, she travels to Kolkata to earn money to feed her stepchildren. But a worried Mohuli finds her purpose and a path because of her brilliant vision and artistic ability.

Seven Steps to Heaven portrays the ability of a woman to love unconditionally. One day Shreya's husband left her unannounced, and after years of waiting, she finds out the truth, but her love remains intact. She has the opportunity to live a more enjoyable life. Instead, she chooses to live for others and attains a nobler ambition. 

Anjali's Eight Virtues, it is the best short story I've ever read. It not only questions the age-old traditions but changes them. A few years ago, when Anjali reached puberty, she was forbidden to be a part of Durga Puja. Being a seven-year-old, she was shattered and didn't understand it. It left a scar on her heart, which healed after her father took a different path after some years.

The Ninth Rasa, this story narrates some unheard mythic legends related to Goddess Durga elegantly. The protagonist Mrinmayee is a dancer and artist, her vision of the Goddess Durga is diverse from others, and it shows in her dance forms. When a demon arrives in her life, she has to decide about what she wants? As the story progress, she understands that there are many other ways to achieve one's dreams, and not everyone has to lose their dignity. 

The Road to Victory is the last story that depicts Pihu's arrival from New York to her hometown, Jugi Para. Things did not change too much except the temple priest, which Pihu remembers as dadu. He decides that Pihu will not enter the temple and throw some nasty tantrums at everyone. With time, Pihu comprehends some reasons for his beloved dad's temper and chooses a path that leads her to the priest's recovery. 

Each story has a distinct character, meaning, and teaching. Nibedita Deb's writing throws light on women's struggles and their capacities to surmount challenging circumstances. The language is easily understandable and grammatical error-free. If you're looking for some women-centric fiction short stories relatable to society's reality, then this book is perfect for you. I highly recommend it. 

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