It’s not the length of a story that captures the reader, but the effect it has. A well written short story can be as effective as a novel, sometimes even more. Though novels rule the roost when it comes to books, I enjoy reading anthologies and short story collections as well, and am often impressed by the quality that some authors bring to the table. The stories in this collection by Neeru Iyer, ‘Of Bridges Among Us’, are quite impressive. They cover a range of emotions, situations, characters… the myriad colors of life.
Though Indian Writing in English seems to veer toward one genre more often than not, there are authors who quite rightly stay away from that and write what they enjoy writing. Indian mythology, or mythology-based fantasy fiction is one, and crime fiction is another. Crime fiction has only few names that I have truly enjoyed reading when it comes to IWE. Having grown up on a steady diet of books in that genre, it seems that most plots feel predictable. As a crime fiction reader, I usually look for some aspects of the book to wow me. Suffice to say, this book Patang by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay managed to tick the boxes.
When I look back in time through my memories and revisit my school days, I remember the friendships, the fun, the laughter, and yes, the first crush. When we are busy looking at forging friendships that we feel would last a lifetime, the concept of ‘love’ seems so far away. The ‘crush’ though happens on its own. It might be the shy girl who sits silently and reads her books, not talking with the others, the introvert just like you. It was for me. Ganga Bharani, through her third book, ‘A sip of Love and A sip of Coffee’ manages to take me back in time to those days as well, through its plot, its setting and of course, its two main characters – Avanthika and Gautham.
The world is constantly changing. Technology seems to be creeping into every aspect of life. It goes without saying that the future seems to be a world where its influence would definitely be more prominent than ever. But can progress be such that the world of our future ends up becoming a dystopia in reality? To imagine of such a world is quite frightening, but it is more so when one sees the current world and realizes that we might actually be headed in that direction. Stephen Oram’s novel Fluence brought out such a thought, such a world, such characters; and perhaps that made it both likeable and dislikeable at the same time.