“At times when one is in doubt, friends help reinstate the faith.”
When a friend gifts a book, even if it is for a review, I tend to think it is a copy for me to just read slowly. It is with an apology to Privy Trifles, my friend who wrote the above line, and one of the authors in this anthology, that I begin this much delayed review.
An anthology is different in each author has a different style, a different story to tell us. Time’s Lost Atlas has eleven stories set in various countries and encompassing different major events of the last decade. Try as I did, I couldn’t guess some of the events. Am not very worldly I suppose!
Anyways… quick thoughts on each of the stories…
1. Beneath by Budhaditya Bhattacharjee
Suspense thriller with CIA involved and that deals with whistleblowing. The story confused me at the start, but the pace thereafter was quite good. And the narration quite held my attention.
2. The Motown Conspiracy by Sakshi Shrivastava
A company is on the verge of bankruptcy… how will the government act? The story is simple and well narrated. It flits in and out of fiction seamlessly. Suits the genre very well.
3. The One and Only Purpose by Geetha Madhuri
What makes this story stand out of the pack is the narration and the ending. Quite a unique thought to narrate from the perspective and it works. Simple story and the event is easily guessed.
4. In the Dark by Pooja Wanpal
I didn’t know the event till I read it in this. The story appeals to me, and stays in my memory because of the starting few paragraphs. They not only set the tone, but also make me think. The narration kept me hooked till the end. One of my favorites from the anthology.
5. The Rising by Malavika Roy
A story where the central character is what makes the story memorable. The story again keeps me engaged till the end, but what stays after is the character.
6. The Filch by Namrata
I don’t know the event behind it, but the betrayal, the angst of the character that is the victim of the betrayal and his recollections… each has been written well. I didn’t expect the end to be so, until just before it actually happens. Another favorite. (Though the typo in the title of the story did feel odd.)
7. A Symphony of Concurrences by Vishal Bagaria
Betrayal returns as the main theme, but not one of my favorites from the book. It didn’t grip me as much as I expected it to.
8. Pangs of Pain by Shruthi Jain
The event is a calamity (literally) and the story of a family as they fight on after it. Though a bit slow at times, it is very thought provoking. I could feel the pain while reading.
9. United We Fall by Anurag Anand
The story is the author’s first attempt at being published. The genre doesn’t appeal to me personally, so it wasn’t one of my favorites. But I think it would appeal to a lot of readers.
10. Innocents at War by Adwitiya Borah
Thought provoking and moving, the narration engages the reader. One of my favorites and one I shall read again too.
11. The Victims by Vishnu Vardhanan
The way the author introduces the character, the pain he feels and copes with and the event that brought it on, is very nice. The writing style, in “acts”, also gives the story a different feel from the other ten.
All the stories in the anthology are well written, most are engaging from start to finish. The idea behind the anthology is unique and I should congratulate the effort. It leaves a mark on your mind and sinks in slowly, even if you read this as completely fictional. Definitely more than a one-time read, these stories.
Title: Time’s Lost Atlas
Author: Harsh Agarwal (editor), Multiple Authors
Publisher: Half Baked Beans Publishing
Price: Rs. 175
(31st August 2014)