It is a delightful sight for a Bengali bookworm to see young indie Bengali writers shining their way through with their mesmerising stories to be told. These Little Voices by Rifah Tashfia is a collection of a few of those mesmerising stories filled with charming characters and beautiful writing.
These Little Voices came out last September, published under Worthy Publications. It consists of sixteen short stories, with a variety in genres such as slice-of-life, mystery, contemporary, science fiction, and so on. The stories explore different aspects and ideas of affection, creativity, and vulnerability.
A major theme throughout the stories is the concept of home and belonging. The first story, “Where the Lost Ones Go,” is evident in the matter of finding one’s roots and identity. A few other stories, like “Home, or Without,” “A Disguise of Ten Years,” and “ Candy Flavoured Bliss,” all play with the idea of a safe shelter and a sense of belonging somewhere permanently. The beauty of this theme is that these stories don’t only provide a home for the characters but for the readers also. The warmth and safety you feel while reading these stories are quite unlike anything else.
And then there comes the friendship and family depicted in the stories. My personal favourites, “ The Book Thieves” and “The Rose-Scented Murder,” are witty, charming, and sometimes breathtaking, with a group of friends who are good at making trouble as well as sticking together when it comes to them. And when it comes to stories revolving around family bonds and warm connections, “House of Enyo” and “Fragile: Please Handle with Care” seal the deal with heart-touching writing and lovable characters.
Most of these stories feel like love letters to significant and magical aspects of the life surrounding the author. “Coffee Stains” reads like a subtle but poetic love letter to the friends we lose along the way, whereas “A Miracle Called A Friend of Thirteen” is to the friends who stay and make us better. And then there is the more obvious love letter to love and memory related to tea in the story “Teascape,” and a love letter to adventure and chaos depicted in the sci-fi story “Galactic Heist.”
On another note, the story behind these beautiful stories started with our author, Rifah Tashfia, wondering if she could create those stories that she loved reading so much as a child. And when her dream of becoming a published writer was close to coming true, due to the constant support of her family and friends and a cooperative journey from her publishing house, she describes the whole process as a mixture of “oh my god, I’m getting published!” and “what if no one likes my book?”
If it were up to her, Rifah would drop everything and write full-time. But since that’s still a daydream, Rifah is tackling her work-in-progress one at a time. She also has a ton of unfinished Google Docs with story ideas and a ton of ideas swirling around in her thoughts. She even has a couple of full-length novels in the works, some of which she intends to actively pursue soon.
While talking to The Interlude, Rifah mentioned how much she loves writing and is adamant about making up more magical stories consistently. She adds as a message to the readers, “This is my favourite line from Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer – ‘Words are part of the writer’s soul.’ Dear reader, here’s a piece of my soul for you. I hope you will enjoy reading the stories of these little voices as much as I enjoyed writing them!”
She hopes to keep doing what she loves the most—writing stories and letting the world in on them. She plans to launch a newsletter soon with snippets of her upcoming works, behind-the-scenes information, and more writing updates. For now, you can find her on Instagram @literaryrish, where she blogs about her favourite books and foods.
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