The books under review are two collections of short stories by wife and husband Annie Chandy Mathew and P.Chandy Mathew—their first creative efforts. As writers they acknowledge their debt to each other as their lives enrich each other’s ‘story’, yet their short stories need to be looked at as independent works (even though both the collections are imbued with a yearning for basic human values which will restore some order to the chaos of divisive voices, warring interests and frenzied passions.
Fireflies in the Dark is a collection of 23 stories showing contemporary squalour, religious bigotry, creeping intolerance, hypocrisy, insensitivity that corrode human values and human relations. At times a brutal portrayal of senseless cruelty—even perversion—perpetrated in the name of saving one’s religion from desecration and defilement, some stories (e.g. Just a Day like Any Other, Never Tell a Lie, My Son, My Son) depict the macabre savagery humans are driven to when communal passions are whipped up.