Book Review: The Owl Delivered the Good News All Night Long by Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai

  • ISBN‏ : ‎ 978-9390652747 
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Aleph Book Company 
  • Price: INR 999/-
  • Genre: Fiction / Anthology/ Myths, Legends, and Fairytales

About the Book

From Jammu and Kashmir in the North to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the South, from Dadra and Nagar havens and Daman and Diu in the West to Arunachal Pradesh in the east, and all the other states and Union territories of India in between, here are 108 fabulous folk tales, legends, and stories from more than fifty-seven languages and dialects. You will delight in wondrous tales of heroes and heroines, of ordinary men and women, of wicked mothers-in-law and foolish sons-in-law, of love lost and won, of a tree who loved a girl, of seers and wise men, of chudails, werewolves, and wizards, of a Potter girl and the divine cow, of demoiselle cranes and humans transforming into elephants, of how the Woodpecker got its Crest, and much, much more. Startlingly original, brilliant, wise, and often funny, these stories will delight readers of all ages. 

About the Author 

Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai is a visual anthropologist, author, and columnist. She works on history, popular culture, and the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of India and South Asia. She was recently deputed as the Culture Specialist (Research) at the SAARC Cultural Centre, Colombo, Sri Lanka, and has also been a Research Grant Fellow of the Indian High Commission, Sri Lanka. A former Assistant Professor from Symbiosis International Deemed University, Pune, she continues to teach at universities in India and abroad.


This book gave me hope. In the sense of someone who admires, adores, and is extremely proud of South Asian literature, this collection is a beautiful reminder of it.

Neatly divided into 36 portions with 3 chapters, this chapter contains short stories from different states arranged in alphabetical order. If the stunning cover by Apoorva Lalit is not enough to pull in a reader, the beautiful blurb and the introduction do the rest of the magic. Ranging from extremely popular stories like Tenali Rama, Danveer Karna, Amrita Pritam, Ranjhana, Heemal and Nagrai, and Begum Jamila Khwaja the collection also has a lot of unheard or lesser-known stories which are the true discoveries.

The language in each of the stories is impeccable in the sense, the choice of words manages to retain the original tone of that region/language the story was written in. It is a rare feat achieved by Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai because in a collection this vast, there is a lot of scope for mistakes. Bajpai has not only picked the best of the best but also set them beautifully to create a neckless which will be talked about for years because of the workmanship it involves and also because the final product is ethereal.

Reading this book is like being on a country-wide tour. The quote by Mark Twain captures the truest essence of this book, the best.

"This is indeed India!… The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendour and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of traditions, whose yesterday’s bear date with the modering antiquities for the rest of nations-the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the world combined." –Mark Twain

This is India captured in this book. This is the India you get to see in these stories and live through these characters. Going through these stories is like an experience in itself. After every 3 stories, the tone changes and so does the feel, the culture, the tradition, and the lifestyle. I read it at leisure, visiting all the cities I wanted to according to my wishlist and basking in the stories for that day. There is no right way to bask in these stories as they are in no particular order. 

The stories are an attempt to showcase the past. They are also an attempt to remind the future of our roots. And for the present to talk about the rich heritage the land we call our country holds for us.

Overall, a brilliant collection. Definitely recommended for all book-lovers. 

This is a collector's edition and a must-have for all book lovers. This cover is a conversation starter and the stories can be a great thing to talk about in all your get-togethers for years to come!

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  1. Replies
    1. The pleasure is all mine to have read your book. Its a labour of love and that love shows in every page!

      Thank you once again.


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