Apu’s Homecoming: Short Story

A short story I wrote years ago has found its home. Apu’s Homecoming is up at Asia Writes, one of my favourite sites. Do read it and give your honest (yes, brutal will do) feedback. I would really appreciate it.
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4 thoughts on “Apu’s Homecoming: Short Story

  1. Bhaswati, this is a nice story about a father’s special relationship with a son: father, mother, friend, everything and everyone rolled up in one person. And it is a story about letting go a little at a time, and allowing the son to grow up a little at a time, a hard thing for any father or mother to do. I also liked how you wrapped this relationship around sports and education, only to have it partially severed by Apu’s more grown-up feelings for a girl.

    As much as I liked the story’s sentiment, there were some things I felt were confusing. Apu’s age, for example, was not always clear. The fact that he was only 8 when we first met him would have been helpful to know sooner, perhaps as early as the opening paragraph. We are then transported to the table with eight-year-old Apu discussing a rival team that he beats at some later year, (perhaps in high-school?) and then he is suddenly of college age preparing for entrance exams and then back at age 5 or 6 again. All a bit confusing as I read.

    The tension in the story was very brief. Where is Abu and why isn’t he home? At that point I wanted more about what the father was going through, his fears, his frustrations shown in some actions of his. And then when the explanation is made, again, more about the father’s internal processing of his son’s eventual growing up and extending his own identity beyond that of his father. How did the father feel about that?

    The next tension is the same as the first, the same scenario, the same circumstances and the same brevity. Where is Apu and why isn’t he where he is suppose to be? There was a certain anti-climax let-down for me when the father finally finds him. Surely there was a whole bundle of emotions going on inside of him that could have been shared with the reader: relief that he was okay, anger at being lied to, distress because the father felt that he was loosing control over his son’s life.

    I did like the father’s acceptance in the end, that the boy was no longer a boy, and that he was taking the natural course that a boy should take rather than one that could have been more mischievous and harmful.

    The father’s voice was very touching. His love and attachment to his son was well delivered and touching to read.

  2. Lapia, thank you so much for reading and responding to my story in such detail. I am sorry about the confusion you felt about Apu’s age. As we see right in the beginning, he is a high-school student. The instance of him being eight-year-old is only a flashback that his father experiences, which he thus describes, “my vision was a blur, my mind numb. I could just see an image of Apu flinging his body across…his small, eight-year old frame diving in a desperate bid to save the ball…” It’s the father’s memory of the younger Apu practicing.

    As for your other observations, I am grateful to you for your careful reading and valuable suggestions. Thanks!

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