‘The Underground Bird Sanctuary’ by Kuzhali Manickavel

This is a story about dying birds, fading love and the decline of idealism among young South Indians. Or, it’s a story about fading film posters, bus stands and toxic relationships. Manickavel is a true original, published in Granta and The White Review, and her dazzlingly imaginative stories are hard to describe. She has a characteristically surreal and absurdist take on subjects including (from her own back-cover blurb): ‘Indian culture; one Christmas story for children; no Indian culture whatsoever; men; poor people; voluntarily homeless youths; women; drugs; sex; Indian dads in cold foreign countries; vomit; boys; girl’s hostels; girls; future tense; the Tropicool Icy-Land Urban Indian Slum.’ and much more. 

First published in The Michigan QuarterlyReview, 2011 and available to read online here, and collected in Things We Found During The Autopsy, Blaft Publications, 2014

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