Things We Do Not Tell the People We Love by Huma Qureshi
“It would have been the perfect summer; if not for my father’s death” – from the first lines, short story collection Things We Do Not Tell the People We Love, by Huma Qureshi, grabs attention with its simplicity and intimate honesty. With disarming frankness the author writes about real life, ordinary people, and their relationships with themselves and others.
“People are dining, only having dinner, and at that time their happiness is built up, and their lives are broken,” Chekhov once said. So in Qureshi’s stories, everyday life is intertwined with lofty impulses and tragedies that unfold in the minds of the characters.
A writer, as a good psychologist, needs to know and intuitively feel the essence of the human soul, and here Qureshi does a great job creating realistic personalities, powerful in their simultaneous clarity and complexity. These are stories about children and parents trying to establish an elusive connection between generations, spouses learning the nature of love and marriage, lovers and friends who are losing and finding each other. Every text serves as a reminder that literature can be a mirror on real life, beautiful in all its imperfections.
At the same time, these stories, reminiscent of fragments from memoirs, have a subtle structure that brings descriptiveness to the fore. However, the plots are often predictable, lacking the unexpected twist or strong insight that would give a reader a sense of satisfaction at the ending.
Things We Do Not Tell the People We Love is definitely a good read, immersing one in its atmosphere. However, a short story is a tricky genre that does not leave the author a lot of time for detailed character unpacking – it must be a well-aimed shot, the denouement providing a long aftertaste. Stories like The Jam Maker have a chance to sink into one’s heart, while some others seem to rely too much on the power of symbolism.
Things We Do Not Tell the People We Love is published by Hodder and Stoughton at the hardback price of £16.99, and is available in the UK on 11th November 2021. For further information visit here.