Simi K. Rao’s book dips unapologetically into different genres and does so beautifully…


The poems and prose pieces within the collection are non-chronologically included fragments of life that explore and show the different phases of the human condition and Rao giving voice to the different  imaginary or fictional happenings and feelings from very plausible protagonists we may not have seen before.

Here, we hear some new voices and models, actualising our world. Including the beautiful and the not-so-pretty life experiences we might all go through one day.

I would definitely recommend this book to young people looking for some inner exploration, either because you need to get to know yourself better or even challenge some ideas you might have been fed before.


Story & Theme:

The book does not follow one sole character and their major life-events. It explores rather, through the eyes of different women and different genres (poetry or prose) profound ideas such as identity, gender, isolation, womanhood and self-worth.

It was such a light and enjoyable read despite treating certain «darker» issues.


This is a beautiful collection of so many types of writing: from short stories to poems and reflections that bring important ideas to the surface. Rao’s wording also has such evocative power that all of these characters, scenes and feelings are perfectly displayed in your mind once you begin reading.

Especifically, for her stories, I was enthralled by this and caught myself wanting to find out their conclusion as soon as possible. If my reading was interrupted by something, I was annoyed to be torn away from the conclusion.

And as for her poetry, the subtle and elegant brush-stroking illustrations that were included in the edition, brought so much more to life the author’s voice and attitude. Minimalist, clear and to the point. Rao doesn’t beat around the bush much, but when she does it is all so wonderfully expressed.

*Thank you very much to the publishers for trusting me with reading this piece and giving an honest review.



-Films: «All the Bright Places» (2020) & «Stuck in Love» (2012).

-Books: «Honey & Milk» by Rupi Kaur & «The Danger of a Single Story» Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.


Have you read «Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree»? Which poem or story was your favourite?

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