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Interview: Arundhati Hazra on “The Toymaker’s Daughter”

Arundhati HazraTell us a bit about “The Toymaker’s Daughter.”

The Toymaker’s Daughter is a story about a girl who has a magical talent, and about how the world behaves when it learns about her talent. It’s also a story about family and belonging, and how it nurtures a person and brings magic into his/her life.

 

What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?

When I lived in Bangalore, I saw a lot of handmade wooden lacquer toys being sold in handicraft emporiums and flea markets – horses and soldiers and train engines in bright colours, each toy different from the other. I started thinking about the people who made them, toymakers working out of passion for their craft, and about how the traditional crafts of India are in danger from the large corporate toy store chains. I imagined a little girl making the toys, and the story just took off from there.

 

Was “The Toymaker’s Daughter” personal to you in any way?  If so, how?

I had zero artistic talent as a kid (still have none), but I made up a lot of stories about my toys, put them through crazy adventures. I also loved Panchatantra, an Indian collection of animal fables, and the stories that the girl makes up are inspired from the tales I read as a child.

 

What would you want a reader to take away from this story?

My friend read the story and said, wow, you have stories within the story! I’d want people to see and appreciate the stories in everything, be it the inanimate objects around us or the people who we pass by.

 

What are you working on now?

I have a number of short stories in various stages of completion, and am working on outlining my first novel, when I’m not struggling to prevent my day job from taking over my life.

 

“The Toymaker’s Daughter” appears in the March/April 2017 issue of F&SF.

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