In this article I analyse Vimala Devi’s Monção (1963) as a short-story cycle, a genre that differs as much from the traditional novel as from non-integrated collections of short narratives in its “tension between variety and unity, separateness and interconnectedness, fragmentation and continuity, openness and closure” (Lundén 12). It is this generic quality I argue, that makes possible Devi’s particular portrait of late-colonial Goa. Drawing on various theorizations of the short-story cycle genre, I scrutinize the interconnections and breaks present across and between the fourteen short stories that comprise Monção and conclude that the oscillation between centripetal and centrifugal forces enables its representation of a polity sutured together along its divisions. Monção, I conclude, proposing a new figure for the short-story cycle, works like a gem in which the stone of context is cut to form a set of planes at angles to one another and where each individual face constitutes a side of Goa’s pre-1961 social formation. The beauty of Devi’s narratives is that each aspect yields new glints of significance as we regard them in light of other stories. In each character we find a new metaphor for certain conditions of life in bygone Goa, the overall effect of these depictions of truncation and discontent being cumulative and mutually illuminating.
from: Melo e Castro, P. (2022) ‘Circling the end of the line in Vimala Devi’s Monção: glints of significance across Vimala Devi’s short story cycle’. Kritika Kultura, 38, pp. 566-596.