Review: Dil Or No Dil by Suleikha Snyder

Reviewed by Sara

To be honest, I don’t generally read a lot of short story collections. I usually find them slightly frustrating because, if the stories and character are good, I generally want more than what a short story has to offer. Furthermore, I’ve never read anything by author Suleikha Snyder. So, I was a little unsure about how I would enjoy Dil or No Dil, but it was on sale and I was between books. Spoiler alert: It was fantastic!

The collection contains older stories, dating as far back as 2011, and new stories made available for the first time in this collection. There are eight in all. The stories range in length from several pages to as many as 13 chapters and contain many elements of and references to the author’s Indian background. I was really blown away by how much I really enjoyed Dil or No Dil and especially the variations of the stories. Some of the stories, were f/f, others were m/m, most were typical m/f pairings, but then some the m/f stories included older female characters and younger male love interests which aren’t typical of Romance as a genre at all. Some of the stories were of the insta-lust/love variety and other were love stories that, while told over only a couple of pages, spanned decades.

One area where there was very little variation was in the many characters. Snyder writes amazing strong, independent characters that are unrepentant in their individuality and their sexuality. With little exception, each character in each story knew themselves, what they wanted out of both love and life and went after it. I was particularly drawn to the character of Sapna from the story “That You Dare To Dream” and Tiya Chatterjee from “A Taste of Blessings.” Both women could have been hemmed in by circumstances and culture, but, without necessarily eschewing their culture altogether, grew into these strong women that when faced with life and love take chances and cut their own paths.

As I previously mentioned, the stories with, if I’m not mistaken, the exception of “Jesse’s Girl” and “Secured,” contain many elements of and references to the author’s Indian background and I loved it. I’ve read about North America, Ireland and the UK forever, I’ve even read Fantasy Romances set in universes that could easily be North America, Ireland or the UK, but with elves and magic and stuff. The number of white, twenty something women I’ve read about is legion, but I’ve very rarely read about a Tiya, a Dhristi or a Saroj. I’ve never read a story about Bengal without the involvement of British soldiers and before reading Dil or No Dil I didn’t know a single thing about Durga Puja. There’s no requirement that authors outside the white, cishet, North American, Judeo-Christian experience educate me, but I read to “live a thousand lives” and to escape. Why would I want to escape to the same place or live the same life over and over again? I enjoyed “Jesse’s Girl” as much as “That You Dare to Dream,” but I appreciated the new (to me) settings, traditions and experiences Snyder shares with the reader in the anthology.

If you enjoy short stories with strong, independent characters, variation and something different than the everyday, check out Dil or No Dil and prepare to be amazed.

Rating: A

Click to purchase: Amazon

Dil or No Dil
by Suleikha Snyder
Release Date: September 18, 2018

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