Book Review: Unlikely Tails, by Mani Padma

Short story collections are wonderful to read because there are different stories, different characters, different settings, all coming together in one book. It can also be read slowly, a couple of stories at a time, not really tempting to read the whole book because each story needn’t be related to each other.

I chose to review this book for a few reasons. I have read the author’s stories before, and liked it. The cover was appealing too. But mainly, it was the title Unlikely Tails that caught my attention and made me add it to my wishlist and TBR shelf. Each story in this collection is not too long, maybe ten pages at most. The shortest story in the book maybe around 4 pages, that’s all. I will talk about a few of the stories here, not all of them. Hopefully, these views will give you an inkling of what to expect from the book itself.

The first story in the collection is titled Prince Charming. It’s a story of an introvert pulled into a social event, and how she seems to finds the guy who fits her idea of Prince Charming, not just in looks but also in his attitude and passions. But is that all there is to him? The twist right at the last made me smile, and yes, there is that one piece missing to that Prince, which is perhaps the most important piece. It was the first story I read, and I felt it was one of the better ones in the book.

Another story I quite liked is Man, Woman and… The story shows the viewpoints of a husband and wife as they go through the day. I liked reading it, and it made me contemplate if there are many such couples in the world. How similar their thoughts are, and yet how different. Intriguing, that’s for sure. I think the conclusion to the piece, the third point of view was quite apt and brilliant, yet poignantly so.

Sabjiwallah definitely stands out from the rest of the stories. The emotions of the vegetable vendor are so well shown. In a few pages, he goes from just being curious, to being a bit more bold and hopeful of love, to even approaching the woman. As a reader, I hoped for a happy ending for him. Even though it wasn’t, it wasn’t an ending that I could have predicted even if I tried.

I think narration makes a lot of difference to any story. Each of these stories made me feel like the author and I were sitting together and having coffee, and she was sharing those stories with me. I liked that casual tone a lot. The characters of most stories are relatable, maybe even realistic. The stories are engaging too, and if I wanted to, I could have finished the book at a stretch as well. It’s a page turner. The twists at the end are quite good too, though sometimes, it’s just abrupt and doesn’t go with the flow of the story before it.

I quite liked this debut collection of short stories from Mani, and I’m hoping the second book is in the offing soon.

A Score Of 7 Out Of 10
Book Details
Title: Unlikely Tails
Author(s): Mani Padma Genre: Short Stories
ISBN/ASIN: 9789384901608 Publisher: Creative Crows

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! 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
15th November 2017)



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