India, Nov. 20 -- Ratno Dholi, a selection of Gaurishankar Joshi's (Dhumketu was his pen name) short stories, translated from the Gujarati by Jenny Bhatt, is among the best short story collections to have emerged from India in years. It features refreshingly robust plots, character development that makes you feel compassion for the characters, and a powerfully realistic depiction of rural Indian society, with its complex interplay of caste, class and gender. The 26 stories in this collection were chosen from each of Dhumketu's 24 volumes of short stories.

The translator writes in her introduction, "Had this writer been more widely translated and read, his stature and skill as a pioneer of the literary short-story form in Gujarati would h...