One thing that is different in a book of short stories, that I expect to find while reading, is a common thread connecting the stories. It happens sometimes, and it doesn’t sometimes. This book of short stories did have it, and they were connected by the title of the book itself. Even before the author connected with me, requesting a review, this book was on my to-be-read list, having been recommended by a friend. “India Unlimited”… what a fascinating thought. The subtitle and the cover design just intrigued me further.
India Unlimited is Kulpreet Yadav’s first book of short stories. Every story in this book has an aspect of India. Sometimes it is easily seen, and sometimes it is not. To take an example, I could understand the feeling of the guy in “The Sari Shop”. I’ve been in his shoes so many times before when the family has gone shopping, and I’ve thankfully survived because my younger sister was there for company. “Faking it at the Conference” was another story that I quite liked, for I have had an appeal to humor of late and this story was quite funny and realistic. Other stories that come to mind while looking for the better ones in the book are “The Beautiful People”, “The Pickle Seller” and “Bringing Sunset Home”. One of the stories I could not connect with much were the opening story, “Not The Only Peanut Seller Who Hasn’t Heard Of Osama Bin Laden”. It started out right, and you could feel the sadness at one point, but the end felt quite abrupt to me.
What is quite good to see and read in this novel is simplicity. The author doesn’t delve into depth at any time, and his narration is direct. What all of the stories together brings to the reader is a view of India that is almost complete, with both sides of the story shown well. He brings myriad kinds of characters that quite define the diversity that one finds in this country and there is a certain charm to some stories and how he tells them. That being said, sometimes that directness goes a little beyond what is needed, and it feels like a statement than a narration. The stories feel a touch boring when that happens. Perhaps a little more attention during the editing phase might have helped avoid that.
IN A GIST:
Positives: Beautiful cover. Simple narration with some easily identifiable characters, plots. Easy flow in reading.
Negatives: Needs more editing. Some stories became too direct and felt a little boring.
Title: India Unlimited
Author: Kulpreet Yadav
Genre: Short Stories
Publishers: LiFi Publications
Price: INR. 190
(26th Nov, 2013)