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Book Review: The Arithmetic of Breasts and other stories, by Rochelle Potkar

“Through these stories, Rochelle Potkar explores the intensely personal ‘unrelationship’ that exists alongside its conventional and socially articulate twin, the relationship.”

There are three things that entice a reader’s curiosity to read a book… the cover (and I don’t mean judging by the cover), the title and the blurb on the back cover. It was the first two that drew my attention to this book, but the blurb amped up that curiosity.

The book is a collection of short stories presenting the romantic-sexual facets of its characters.

The title story, The Arithmetic of Breasts, is my favorite from the book. The story is deceptive, I feel. The title and the beginning of the story indicated raw sexuality, but I found it otherwise toward the end. It wasn’t just about that, but about the strength of a relationship and about strength of a person, about love, about memories and about family. I felt it intricately woven, brilliantly narrated, and wonderfully concluded.

The Room with a Sea View, I feel, was about relationships and how we relate one person to another. It again had a lot to do with memories. This story intrigued me a lot because of that aspect, and how it showed the difference between talking to someone and talking near them.

What I liked most in The Scent of a Conscience was the ending. The story is about infidelity, and like the other stories, is written beautifully, crisscrossing viewpoints and events that lead to that ending, but it is that ending which hit home the point.

The best part of Sky Park was the perspectives, and the way each of the first three parts of the story ended. It felt so true, and I found myself nodding in agreement. The characters too helped move the story along, and I could relate to the last line of this story.

I thought most stories would be like this, but The Troll on Page 16 was, to me, a humorous diversion from the rest in this book. There are some more stories in the book too, apart from the 5 I’ve named here.

I don’t quite know if this book is meant for every reader, because I feel the genre of the stories wouldn’t sit comfortably with every reader. But I found the stories quite engaging, definitely well written and I enjoyed every story in the collection.

The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
Book Details
Title: The Arithmetic of Breasts and other stories
Author(s): Rochelle Potkar Genre: Short Stories
ISBN/ASIN: 9789351749004 Publisher: 20 Notebooks Press
No. of Pages: 107 Price: Rs. 199

Reviewed for the author, who gave me a copy of the book. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 28th February 2015)



Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Arithmetic of Breasts and other stories, by Rochelle Potkar

  1. Well written review, Leo. It sounds like an interesting collection of short stories. I have a feeling that I’ll like it as well 🙂

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