Book Review: The Inimitable Chaos of Life, by Maliny Mohan

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” – Friedrich Nietzsche.

Life is such that there are chaotic moments that leave us and lead us to contemplation. Each of us has our own way of expressing that chaos. One of the best ways I know is to write, and I think most writers would relate to that. This collection of stories from Maliny Mohan’s pen brings forth some moments of chaos, and some of clarity.

Short stories, I have maintained, are difficult to pen because it means expressing a lot in a limited number of words. Without a doubt, most of Maliny’s stories manage to do that. The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability, they say. There’s bound to be different kinds of chaos. And that was all I could tell from the blurb. As with every short story collection, I loved some of the stories, and some not so much.

The relationship between a brother and sister is one that I love writing about. To read a story about that relationship was wonderful. I think the story “Sara” perfectly captured the protectiveness of the brother, and the love that both have for each other. The ending was quite emotional, and came as a surprise. If I were to pick one story from the collection as favorite, this would be it.

Another story that had an unexpected ending was the one titled “The Man at the Copy Shop”. It’s a story about a writer, and how someone falls in love with her, and her words. I won’t say more about it, but I loved the story. We often cannot tell what’s going on around us. Some things are hidden well too, and we don’t realize until it might be too late. This was well portrayed in the story.

The story “Second Chance” shows how one decision affects our life in ways we might never have expected. I only wished something happier had been on the cards for Smera, but perhaps life does not work that way.

In each of the stories in the book, the characters have the spotlight. Their emotions are well portrayed. The writing is put forth in a simple language, making it easy to read and easy to experience the emotions that each character go through too. There is food for thought as well. Though some stories left me sad at the end, they were also the stories I went back to and re-read parts of. There are no sudden endings either. The writing is quite developed and a treat to read. I liked the cover art, but it could have been better, more chaotic perhaps.

I did not like the typeset of the text (not the title of the stories). It’s not a major gripe, because the stories were good, but I think a better font would have helped. The book also could have been edited slightly better. There were typos (though not a lot), and at places, the language felt complex. Some sentences are better expressed directly, and that would have made better reading.

The Inimitable Chaos of Life is a book I’d read again for sure. For a debut collection, it holds a lot of promise. And I wish the author brings more such wonderful books in the future.


A Score of 8 out of 10
Book Details
Title: The Inimitable Chaos of Life
Author(s): Maliny Mohan Genre: Short Stories
ISBN/ASIN: 9789386305466 Publisher: Story Mirror

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.


(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
30th June 2017)

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