The development of the prose narrative, which appropriates the present concept of
the short story, began in the early nineteenth century. This was in order to satisfy the need
for short fiction by the existing magazines and periodicals. The early practitioners of
this genre were Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe in
America; Sir Walter Scott and Mary Shelley in England; Honore de Balzac in France; and
Nikolai Gogol, Alexander Pushkin and Ivan Turgenev in Russia. However, the art of short
fiction achieved its crest in the hands of O Henry, Anton Chekhov, Guy de Maupassant,
Ernest Hemingway and William Somerset Maugham.
In India, however, the writing of English prose began with Bankim
Chandra Chattopadhyay and Rabindranath Tagore. Many good Indo-Anglian novels and
several short stories have aptly demonstrated the feasibility of Indians writing fiction in
English. While K S Venkatramani and Shanker Ram can be called the early pioneers in the
field, Shiv K Kumar is among the newer practitioners. The genre has, by and large,
remained a product of novel workshop in Indian English literature from its very beginning.
This trend is evident in the recent writings also. Apart from novelists, there are also a
few poets who have tried their hand at this art form.
Shiv K Kumar, novelist, poet, playwright, translator and critic, is a recipient of
the Sahitya Akademi Award for his collection of poems, Trapfalls in the Sky, and the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to literature.
Khushwant Singh had once said that a short story must have unity, a distinct
beginning, middle and end, a ring of truth, a message to convey, and a sting in its tail. The
short stories of Shiv K Kumar perfectly fit this categorical definition of this art form.
The twenty-five stories in Kumar's Beyond Love and Other
Stories show a considerable variety of settings and characters. Short, sleek and readable, his stories are, however,
thin in content. To Nun with Love and Other
Stories, his second volume of short stories, published in 2002, is the focus of this paper.