Jews Christians Hindus And Muslims-Tell Them The Truth : There Are No Angels. . .No Miracles. And ..There Is No God!
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5 of 6 found the following review helpful:
reviewed by New York Times best-selling author Ellen Tanner Marsh Jul 18, 2007
"freelance writer, Indophile and Bollywood addict"
Literary scholars agree that the modern short story has its origins in ancient oral story telling, and nowhere is this tradition more indelibly woven into human history than in India, with its rich culture of folk and tribal literature told and retold over the centuries in a myriad of languages.
Jews, Christians, Hindus and Muslims -Tell Them the Truth: There are No Angels...No Miracles. And...There is No God! by Sattar Memon continues this time-honored tradition by presenting a vibrant and varied sampler of Indian life.
While the first story deals hauntingly with an American cancer patient coming to terms with mortality and his religious beliefs, most of Memon's stories take place in India, capturing timely and often brilliantly subtle insights into the rhythms of everyday life and its occasional absurdities as ancient ways persist and occasionally clash with the modern world.
In "Mango Blossoms," fate and cultural mores serve to keep apart a pair of star-crossed lovers, with tragic results.
In "The Pawnshop" an unscrupulous merchant takes advantage of the plight of villagers forced into poverty by relentless drought.
In the spooky tradition of Rudyard Kipling's "The Phantom Rickshaw," Memon serves up superstition and revenge as a young couple attempt to entrap a corrupt Hindu priest in the finely tuned story, "Hung-up Beneath the Heaven."
In "Jews, Christians, Hindus and Muslims...there are no angles...and there is no God," Memon offers up a forceful and heart-wrenching portrait of a Bolivian immigrant in New York grappling with post-911 racial profiling and prejudice.
Jews, Christians, Hindus and Muslims -Tell Them the Truth: There are No Angels...No Miracles. And...There is No God! is a richly woven tapestry of tales that touch on the personal and cultural, populated by characters brimming with realism thanks to Memon's pitch-perfect narrative, unfolding like a lotus blossom under his observant eye to reveal the lasting influence of mostly sorrowful events on a profoundly human condition. Substantial, solid and satisfying.
4 of 6 found the following review helpful:
Schadenfreude and Inspiration - all in one collection Aug 06, 2007
By Anil Madan
Sattar Memon's latest book is a collection of short stories. The opening lines from the headlined story set out also as the title of the collection include the words "Tell Them The truth: There Are No Angels... No Miracles. And There Is No God." These are juxtaposed with the promise, on the cover, that other "Tales of Faith" including "Send Me An Angel" are to be found within. The simultaneous admonition that one story nixes the idea of angels while another pleads for an angel, is a harbinger that the author addresses the contradictions inherent in many matters of faith and belief. Many of us ascribe to God or supernatural forces happenings in our lives or the lives of others. At the same time while our own misfortunes are taken to show a lack of divine intervention or insufficiency in our faith and devotion, the misfortunes of others are often taken - and sometimes gleefully - to be signs of divine or supernatural justice meted to the deserving.
Thus Memon begins the book with a revelatory glimpse into his experiences as an oncologist, a cancer doctor. "Send Me An Angel" is a story about both the will to live and the willingness to die. The patient's "conversations" with his deceased daughter will to some, evidence his faith and to others, evidence his delusion. But then, that is the paradox of faith - one man's faith is, in the eyes of another, a delusion. Memon grasps this dichotomy quite well and the rest of the stories are a testament to that understanding. Of course, as any good writer will, he guides the reader to the precipice but does not make the final leap - that is for the reader.
Mango Blossoms reveals another aspect of the paradox of faith - a Muslim girl falls in love with a Hindu boy and he too is smitten. The melody of the Hindu father's kindness to the child of one of the Muslim servants is contrapuntal to the harsh tune evoked when he learns that his Hindu son wants to marry the Muslim girl. In The Pawnshop Memon describes the frightful despair that poverty, here occasioned by drought, brings to the villagers and the exploitation of their plight by the local pawnbroker. His unabated and unabashed greed leads the pawnbroker to fall for the chicanery of a supposed Pujari or temple worshipper, a priest. The pawnbroker is humiliated and swindled in a story that seems to suggest he deserved his fate and coming, as it does, at the hands of a Pujari, was divinely inspired. Memon does not stop to explain why fate would so intervene - one is led to the suggestion that exploitation begets divine retribution. Memon is not done with Pujaris - a particular abusive one, whose conduct is evocative of the recent scandals involving sexual exploitation by priests, is made to confess in a delectable plot with a twist.
There are stories of kindness shown by complete strangers and an Alexander-Fleming-like tale of a young poverty stricken shoeshine boy who is rescued from his entrapment and given a chance at an education. He goes on to become a successful lawyer and there is the obligatory chance encounter in the finale when, roles reversed, he comes to the aid of his former benefactress.
In all tales of faith and belief, supernatural and divine, there will be moments of the unexplained - a coincidence or divine intervention? Are we dealing with supernatural force or just workings of the human mind? Memon includes these and the title story is another good example, Memon does not stop to justify the grand coincidences he creates, but puts them in the context of both the despair that comes from feeling abandoned by the Creator and the joy that comes from believing that God is on one's side.
These are simple stories but woven in a complex fabric of social issues. For example, The Shoeshine Boy is both a story of how much kindness and compassion shown to others comes back as a reward - a central tenet of most religions, and also of how, faith or not, there is a social issue with not just the glass ceiling for women, but the real problem of entry into the job market especially in emerging economies.
So, this is book you should read. If you are looking for entertainment, the stories will give you that, and if you like to think about matters of faith, they will make you reflect on how much of what we do and take for granted as a part of faith is balanced by the dark side of what we do not see and often ignore despite proclaiming our dedication to principles of equality, charity and kindness. Some will enjoy the stories for their moments of delicious Schadenfreude, heartwarming inspiration, and Memon's display of compassion for those who suffer without fault of their own and his outrage at those whose exploitation and greed knows no bounds.
2 of 4 found the following review helpful:
Is it possible to restore one's faith? Jul 25, 2007
By C. Silva
Many people today, regardless of which religious denomination they belong to, have lost faith in God. Sadly, it is often due to the way their religious leaders act in public or the fact that they have been mistreated and/or abused by these "supposed" holy men of God.
Tales of Faith is a book of short stories about such people, who found themselves in these situations and after certain events take place in their lives a realization takes place. Thus, they can have peace within themselves and begin the healing process of restoring or at least rekindling the faith they once had in their lives.
The stories take place in several different parts of the world yet the human nature of all people is the same. Reaction to traumatic events in our lives are the same, making it common for all to feel, hurt, cry and suffer and grieve in the same manner. It is something that should make us stop and think - why is there so much hatred and domination of one race over another, when in reality, we all belong to the same race ... the HUMAN RACE.
3 of 6 found the following review helpful:
Thought-provoking.... Jul 31, 2007
By Teresa Beaver
I must admit when I first read the title I was thinking what on earth is
this all about? But then I looked deeper and read some of the excerpts.
Do not be fooled by the title. This book is what you are looking for, if
you are looking for something thought-provoking about not only religion
but about the human race. Open your heart and mind when reading JEWS,
CHRISTIANS, HINDUS AND MUSLIMS-TELL THEM THE TRUTH : THERE ARE NO ANGELS.
..NO MIRACLES. AND ..THERE IS NO GOD!, the way Sattar Memon opened his
when he wrote these beautiful stories.
SEND ME AN ANGEL has touched my heart deeply and every time I read it I
cry. For me these stories made me think about so much more than just the
story, so much more than just myself, but about all of us, about who we are and how we shouldn't judge someone merely by how they look or their religion.
We all need something to believe in. No matter your religion, beliefs,
non-beliefs, we all need something that makes us feel we are not alone,
that there is something larger than we are that will watch over us and
keep us safe from harm, something that will restore your belief in the
kindness of others. There is a story here for everyone and everyone will take away something different from each story.
I'D RECOMMEND THIS MOVING ANTHOLOGY OF SHORT STORIES TO ANYONE. THIS BOOK RESTORES LOVE, REDEMPTION,FORGIVENESS AND..MOST IMPORTANTLY , FAITH IN GOD!"
3 of 6 found the following review helpful:
SPIRITUALITY, FAITH STRENGHENING, HOPE ,LOVE Jul 26, 2007
By W.JEAN KHAN
"W. JEAN KHAN"
Inspires hope,faith and love. There is very little today which inspires hope, faith and love. To the contrary, this world is filled with despair, apathy or outright disbelief in God, along with escalating hatred. Tales of Faith seeks to accomplish the former of the two. It's many stories will touch your heart and show you that such things are possible amidst all the horrendous acts that we see in this world today. These stories will take you on a journey into the lives of people, who, dueto the unfortunate circumstances in which they have found themselves, have lost faith and now have nowhere to turn... or so they think. The author's goal is to restore one's faith or for those who never had faith, show them why they need it and how to attain it.
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