I should have judged the book by its cover this time. Sometimes my quest for checking out unheralded authors backfires, and how. This is another book that I regret having bought, not for the cost but the anticipation and effort. After having read short story collections by Kunal Basu, Shinie Antony, Vassanji and Rohinton Mistry, may be I set my expectations too high. This book was thoroughly disappointing to say the least.
So what’s wrong with the book? Everything. Published from Cedar Books, ‘an imprint of Pustak Mahal’, the very appearance of the book is juvenile. They have a caricature of a tree with an umbrella and drops of rain drawn like students draw short lines to indicate water. Methinks they re-used the cover of a pre-school coloring book minus the see saw, the merry-go-round and the smiling children with pigtails and colored cheeks. They should have had a statutory warning ‘Not for Children Above 13’. The stories are like those short stories in Women’s Era.
Coming to the content the stories are superficial and hollow. Some of them have plots that are strongly remniscent of some mallu movies – like Time and Tide, Mist in the Mountain, A Rainbow in my Heart. The plots are predictable and uninteresting. But for one story, ‘The Champion’, the author does not let the reader draw his own conclusions nor does it tickle your imagination. After all the beauty of short stories is to be crisp and let the reader draw up the story line in his own head. Here everything is staring in your face and is disappointing. The editing could have been tighter, there are errors in punctuations, there are avoidable repetitions. The language and the descriptions are laboured and quite tedious.
Buy and read at your own risk.