Killer Nashville 2018 Silver Falchion Nominee



Short Stories

By Fiza Pathan

Fiza Pathan Publishing | $28.00
November 30, 2017

short stories

Review by Brittany Menken

A progression on what the word love means to each individual has become gradually universal. With well-versed authors contributing to the LGBT community such as Fiza Pathan, all love gets the recognition it deserves. In A Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name, the reader gets to take part in an emotional 21 short story collection that not only sheds light on the struggles of the gay and transgender but the people that oppose them.

Pathan grabs the reader by the heartstrings from the first page to the last beginning her collection in a time warp. Set in the 1950’s, a young Indian man struggles to write his father a letter confessing he’s gay and the torment of being in love. Quick to abide by the laws of Indian culture, his father marries him off to a complete stranger while his lover witnesses the charade. In this short story alone, the connection between the brother, his youngest sister and lover show how easily Pathan is able to create a strong bond between characters in just a few pages.

 A young boy trapped in his own body is just another example of Pathan’s understanding for the human condition. A mother and her two children are visited by an old educator from her time in Catholic School who served as principal and nun. Upon arrival, she learns the beautiful little girl was a boy by birth and shames the family. Years after the children expanded their own families, a meek knock echoes through the hallways of their childhood home and the forlorn nun enters once again. Dementia ridden, the nun is shown kindness she never expressed to the family and gains a quick acceptance into the home. Here Pathan creates characters as empathetic as they are scorned by testament of reassuring eyes and kind words for the elderly nun.

A family of seven struggling to head out to the car in time for a dinner party seemed average enough until a mysterious suitcase is found full of lingerie. After shots are fired in attempt to catch the culprit out of the five children, the father admits the suitcase is his. After a brief but heated argument, the mother storms out and begins to pack her bags without any explanation. The children, quick to defend their father, are shunned entirely as she proclaims she’s done with all of them and leaves. The quick acceptance that their father finds joy in dressing like a woman shows Pathan’s understanding of the younger generation and how all love is slowly becoming the social norm in today’s society as a whole.

In A love That Dare Not Speak Its Name, Pathan expertly writes of suppression and love on such a deep level the reader may feel they are learning about her own life. The intimacy of language pulls the reader in page by page, diving in to 21 emotionally rich stories bringing to life social hardships the LGBT community face every day. From hopelessly single 58-year-old drag queens to a culture that believes arranged marriages are more vital than how you feel, it’s easy to see Pathan genuinely understands pain and acceptance. Besides the range of emotions created for her characters, Pathan also succeeds to speak through her characters in a breezy conversational tone that would make it easy for anyone to read and enjoy. With her shift from different time eras and cultures, A Love That Dare Not Speak its Name is not only for people struggling with their sexuality but people old and young that can easily connect to each and every story.

 *With nine published books, it’s no surprise Fiza Pathan has achievements ranging in other genres. Other works include S.0.S Animals and Other Stories, Classics: Why We Should Encourage Children to Read, and Treasury of Bizarre Christmas Stories. Awards include the Gold Award 2016, Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards, Mom’s Choice Awards Kindle version 2014,Pinnacle

Britany Menken is a lover of the arts with a Creative Writing degree from Tusculum College. A firm advocate of reading and writing, Britany spends her days working on her own novels as well as helping others do the same. Born in Maryville TN, she also enjoys morning trips to the mountains for writing sessions and spending more time with her cat than humans.