The Sacrifice: The Move
Author: Indrajit Garai
Self Published in 2016
Review by Miriam Atkinson
The Move is the first novella in Indrajit Garai’s first volume of short stories title ‘The Sacrifice’. As the title suggests, the stories are connected by the common theme of sacrifice.
Set a rural community high in the mountains, The Move follows Guillaume – a local farmer whose family has tended the land for generations. Newer, larger, industrial farms continually threaten traditional farming methods. In this changing world Guillaume struggles to keep his farm afloat whilst also raising his young son Hugo.
The Move provides a snapshot into the lives of a small struggling community and at its heart is a story about family and about fathers and sons. The conflict and the core of the novella’s theme of sacrifice comes from Guillaume who doesn’t want to fail his father’s legacy and all he has accomplished with the family farm. Yet Guillaume needs money and must find a way to adapt his way of life before it is too late. At the same time Guillaume is very protective of his son and does not want to uproot Hugo by selling the farm and taking him away from everything he knows. There are no good options and inevitably a choice must be made.
In the opening few pages I was concerned about the set up of the story. The reader is immediately introduced to a lot of names. Even after I had sorted out which names belonged to the human characters and which to the animals, it was still initially confusing as there was no immediate context given for who most of the characters were and what their connection to Guillaume was. For this opening set up I would have liked the story to slow down, just for a moment, and add a simple line to explain who the characters were straightaway rather than leaving the reader to figure out the connection later.
Despite being a detriment at the beginning, as The Move progressed its fast pace also became one of its strengths. The story is continually moving forwards and there is always something happening. This quicker pace means the novella is easy to read.
Unlike the other stories in this collection, The Move is set over an extended period of time and as a result the plot relies on several time jumps. It’s only a small point but I wish Garai had included subheadings to make it very clear when the story was entering a different month.
While I felt the plot suffered from too many secondary characters, I did care about Guillaume and Hugo and wanted to keep turning the pages to find out what would happen to this little family next. Although farming life is not a subject I know a great deal about, I still found the story compelling due to Garai placing the fate of his primary protagonists at its heart.
A copy of this collection of short stories was kindly provided to me by Estelle, a friend of the author. You can find more information about Indrajit and his works on Estelle’s website.
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