*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title The Tales of Dwipa
Author: Prajwala Dixit
Publisher: Breakwater Books
Publication Date: April 8, 2022
Through a framework of traditional tales, fantastic creatures struggle with issues of marginalization, opening discussion for parents and children in an accessible form. The Tales Of Dwipa is a collection of short stories adapted from the Panchatantra, a collection of simple, engaging, and interrelated animal tales penned by Pandit Vishnu Sharma in the hopes of awakening the dim intelligence of a powerful Indian king’s idle sons. The ancient stories of the Panchatantra still find meaning in today’s world despite originating in India before 300 BCE. These stories are set in a Canadian context with topical themes, bringing together two distinct cultures—Indian and Canadian—for the most impressionable minds of our society.
The Tales of Dwipa is one of the most interesting story collections I’ve read recently. A mash up of historical Indian lore mixed with distinctly Canadian themes, it’s a unique blend of cultures that brings these stories to life. The anthropomorphic tales, while simple, often have a specific life lesson or word of wisdom to share. This lore is brought together in an excellent and entertaining collection that’s perfect for young readers. It’d be great to see a book like this used as a teaching tool for students to learn about short fiction, Indian storytelling, and Canadian culture.
Brought to life by a Canadian east-coast publisher, the stories had a very distinctly “Newfie” vibe. Even the Newfie accents were written into some of the characters. It certainly was unexpected, particularly when mixed with the Indian heritage, but it gave me quite the chortle. This strange dichotomy causes the reader to pause and thing about how these cultures are so different, yet the book brings them together in harmony, drawing parallels and intertwining them seamlessly. This multicultural experience is so distinctly Canadian, it’s a beautiful representation of what the literary landscape is in this country today, in addition to what it should strive to be in the future.
Along with the writing, there are endearing illustrations throughout, bringing together story and visual in a perfectly married blend. This is exactly the kind of voice we need to see more of in the Canadian fiction landscape!