You Cannot Have All The Answers and Other Stories by Deepa Agarwal | Book Review


‘Some stories begin at the beginning and some at the end. And in some it’s hard to say where the beginning is and where the end.’

You Cannot Have All the Answers, a collection of fifteen short stories, offers a glimpse into the conflicting emotions that define the human condition, and portrays characters who attempt to seek answers to a variety of existential questions.

Including The Asian Age short-story competition winner, Cradle Song, these narratives deal with issues like trauma, sexuality, prejudice, family relations, and the recklessness of youth.


Deepa Agarwal


Niyogi Books

Release date:

April 9th 2018

No. of Pages:

Paperback, 188 Pages

The title is chosen on the basis of a story among 15 other stories.  This collection of short stories is all over the place and I enjoyed most of them. They're unique and different and well-written and memorable, and they deserve to be read. One thing I like about short stories is the authors can create worlds that are different from ours in subtle or outrageous ways, and they don't have to explain or justify it - that responsibility of understanding falls on the reader.

However, there are some in here that just aren't all that great, but you never have to endure a story for more than about 20 pages. The stories in here are rich and vivid and no matter what your flavor, you will probably find a story in here you like. The good thing about this book is that it has variation in the texture and tone of the stories. My favorite would have to be the one called You Cannot Have All The Answers. Some of the stories have withstood the test of time better than others. Nevertheless, a worthy read.

My recommendation would be to take a break between stories. That way, you can savor and fully appreciate each story before diving into the next one.


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