Tag Archives: Short Stories

Book Review: A Perfect Murder: and Other Stories by S.R. Nair

perfect_murderI’m a big fan of short stories and I feel sometimes short stories could convey a whole lot more then hundreds of pages in a novel.

A Perfect Murder: and Other Stories by S.R. Nair got me intrigued, for the title and due to short stories.

Murder mysteries are good but need to be handled very well. I did go through the entire book and it failed to impress me.

Rating

★★★ (3 out of 5)

The Storyline

A Perfect Murder is a story of a divorcee who plans the murder of her father and blames a local guy for the same. And there are other stories like Salma’s fate where she is raped by her father in law and she decides to take him up. There are in total 14 stories which takes on different aspects of human life. Where on one end it deals with life in India and other an Indian living in US and trying to get married to an Indian girl who turns out to be a fraud.

What I Think

For me to get impressed with Short stories they need to be real good and alas I didn’t find this book good enough. Unfortunately none of the stories impressed me including the main one The Perfect Murder. It was anything but a perfect murder and I didn’t even think the story made a lot of sense. And I get the feel that mostly the stories are just written for the sake of writing and there was really not much to write about.

The writing is simple and some of you might even like the stories but for me none of the stories worked and I was disappointed.

Last Words

I always think that not all the stories are meant to be told. Sometimes there is just no meat in the story or the way they are told is not good enough. And I feel you are equipped to write short stories when you have mastered the art of writing long stories or novels but that’s just me.

This is one book where I feel some of the readers might also like few of the stories.Do give it a try, if you don’t like a story or two, you can always skip them without losing much.

You can buy this book at low price from Amazon.in

 

PS: Thanks to the author for providing a complimentary copy.

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Book Review: Business As Usual by Deepak Chawla

business as usual

business as usual by Deepak Chawla

I have become very cautious when it comes to book review requests. I have hardly taken any since last few months for the sheer reason that the book titles or blurb just have no appeal or nothing new to offer.

Everyone wants to be a writer, no one wants to write anything worth reading that’s pretty much what’s happening in India today but often I am surprised.

Business As Usualby Deepak Chawala is one book that I agreed to review after a long time and was very skeptical to begin with. In the end I agreed as it mentioned short stories, so I can still leave after a few pages without the guilt of not finishing the entire book.

Rating

★★★★ (4 out of 5)

The Storyline

The book is a collection of 5 short stories and these stories get covered in 300 odd pages.

The first one “Journeys Beyond Destinations” tells the story of Gautam and Shama, who used to work together at a Infrastructure firm run by Kulbushan Kapoor and had great chemistry between them and a good working relationship. Gautam relied on Shama and shares everything with her. When the firm is split between their sons Gautam leaves to be part of Lalit Kapoor’s firm to Shama’s dislike. Why Gautam leaves Shama and the firm, how their lives go on from that point onwards is covered in the remaining story.

Another one which I actually liked was “Balance of fate”, Sudeep is manager in a tea plantation and receives the news that he is getting fired. He has been at this plantation since last 5 years away from his family as a penance for the death of one of his employee during his job. Aisha his protege shares good equation with him keeps giving him wisdom of life. Her outlook towards life in general affected Sudeep in a good way. He is not prepared to go back home but he has to as he has no job. Back in kolkata he finds another job only to leave it in a few days. The reason and his take on life is tested. He is confronted with a question that has he really done justice to his life till now.

I also liked the last one “More wishes than stars” which deals with Kunal, who is unhappy with his job and is trying to find a meaning of his life. He tries his hands at entrepreneurship but fails, lands another job but dislikes it. He keeps on cribbing and on the other hand finds his friend Mira, an entrepreneur happy with what she does. The author raises a good point that there is a difference between making a choice and the way you want to live your life.The inner calling is probably what everyone wants to listen to but very few can hear it and heed the advice.

What I Think

This book is a very good collection of short stories. The best thing that I liked about the book was that none of the stories has love plot in it. There are men and women sharing good chemistry, good working equation with each other and just real good friends. And this is such a normal thing that happens in the world out there.

The stories are new and fresh. I don’t consider them stories, I don’t even consider them leanings or anything like that but a “matter of fact”. What author tells you is this happened and this is how it happened. No preaching, no moral high grounds, not the usual boring stories.

These stories were really a breath of fresh air in this “macchi market” of new books and new Indian authors. And I was pleasantly surprised.

The title of the book is also apt “Business as usual” although it could have been used a little less throughout the book and should have been left to readers to realize that it was business as usual.

The only thing that I was not fully satisfied was quality of writing. Not that it is bad but if that was up by a couple of notches than this book would have been even better. But as it is the first book by the author I will give him a pass 🙂

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Last Words

I am happy that every now and then I come across good writings by new Indian authors amongst the garbage that is being dished out. It is not mythology (which seems to be everyone’s forte now), it is not those non-nonsensical love and friendship shit. These are some real good contemporary stories with which you can relate to. Very fresh, very well thought.

I am happy to have gone through this book and I congratulate the author Deepak Chawla for it and will look forward to his next book.

I strongly recommend Business As Usual to anyone who loves good short stories or simply who likes a good read.

You can buy this book from Amazon

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Review: How I taught my Grandmother to Read

grandmotherAs mentioned in my last post reading has been bit slow in last couple of weeks, so I sped up a little and was able to finish another book over the weekend.

The book this week was “How I taught my Grandmother to Read and Other Stories” by Sudha Murthy. 

This is my second book by Sudha Murthy, I read and reviewed “wise and otherwise” last year, which was kinda good. And because of that book, I knew what to expect from this book.

This book is also a collection of short stories and is an easy read. The good thing about the author’s book is that they are simple, small, day-to-day stories (sometimes narration of an incidence) which sends a good vibe inside you. Mostly related to Human nature and circumstances we face everyday. You can compare them with (probably) your Grandmother’s stories (which is not a bad thing). But then that is also its major flaw if you are expecting much more from these books.

Take for instance I was more disappointed (or may be it’s too strong a word) with “Wise and Otherwise” but after reading that I knew what to expect from this book and by the time I ended this book I was happy as it met the expectations.

Essentially good stories for children and youngsters, some of the stories might teach you a moral and some are a mere statement of fact(s). But these stories could give you insight into author’s life even though you might not have met her you will feel like you know her from around.

I recommend gifting it to children and youngsters as these are short simple stories and would interest them and who knows they might  get inspired from one of the stories which might change their lives forever (like one of the stories in the book).

PS: This book (and not the review) was sponsored by mysmartprice.com a new price comparison search engine. Thanks Guys!

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Review: Malgudi days

I finished Malgudi days a bit late than I expected, so I am running late with the book to be picked up this week. But on to the review.

Malgudi days as I mentioned in an earlier article most of us know the stories in some way or the other. It was adapted to a TV Series when we were growing up and we got hooked up to it back then. The children and adults both had the same amount of interest.

After a long time I was able to get my hands on the book that the Series was based on. Malgudi days is written by prominent writer R.K. Narayan, his contribution is well-known and he is a renowned author of many books but I think no other book of his got so much prominence and publicity as Malgudi days.

There is a quote on the back cover of the book by Francis King which I liked and totally agree with he says, “The hardest of all things for a novelist to communicate is the extraordinary ordinariness of most human happiness…Jane Austen, Soseki, Chekhow: a few bring it off. Narayan is one of them”.

This pretty much summarizes the entire book. If you are looking for some obvious humor, laughs, mystery, drama, love stories, etc. then this is not what you will get from it. The book will leave no impression on you when you finish any story (it’s a collection of short stories) but then when you will be off the book each story will leave a lasting impression on you. The beauty of the stories as King aptly says is the extraordinary ordinariness.

Very few authors can capture the human emotions in such a beautiful way.

In all there are 32 stories and all the stories revolve around a town in south India called Malgudi (it’s a fictitious town don’t look it up in the map). The characters in each story are so well crafted that you can identify them with the few people around you, they are pretty ordinary characters but then again they are extraordinary in their manners.

I would even commend the TV Series in this regard that they did a pretty decent job with the book as the people still remember a lot many characters from that Series still.

All the stories are excellent, it’s hard to pick a few but a few I liked the most are The Missing Mail, The Doctor’s word, The blind dog,  Such Perfection, Engine Trouble, Forty-Five a month, The Axe, Lawley Road, A willing Slave, Leela’s Friend, Mother & Son, Selvi, Second Opinion.

In “The Missing Mail” a village postman’s emotions with a household are displayed when he doesn’t deliver a bad mail to the house until the daughter of the house is wedded.

In the “Doctor’s Word” it shows how a doctor’s word is considered to be  God’s word and just by listening to a lie how the doctor’s friend cruises through a bad disease which almost killed him.

In “Forty-Five a Month” a man’s tussle with the love for his child and fighting with the financial reality is depicted where he wants to take his little daughter for the movie after promising her but he has to slog in the office every day and the result he gets is a five rupee increase.

In “Mother & Son” the relationship of mother and son is beautifully shown when after getting angry with his son she says some harsh words to him and later she becomes restless when her Son doesn’t come back late in the night. The love and relationship are beautifully depicted.

Each story is unique and touches some or the other part of our everyday life and as Narayan mentions in the beginning that the characters of Malgudi can be found anywhere in the world and the stories have universal appeal.

I enjoyed “Malgudi days” thoroughly and this has re-kindled a wish to watch the entire TV Series again, so may be I will try to find out some you tube links showing the episodes.

How did you like the Series? And have you read the book, and did you like it? Do let me know.

 

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Week 8: The book this week is Malgudi days

So there it is, I missed reading the book last week i.e. Week 7, although things weren’t very tight nevertheless it was a tiring week and I couldn’t bring myself up to go through a book. So now I have got to compensate for that in the weeks to come.

This week has started well and we are waiting for the monsoon in this part of the world. In 2 weeks time it should start raining here and it will be green all around, that is what I look forward to every year. And reading a book in such a pleasant weather is one of the joys of life that can’t be equated with anything else.

So while I am still dreaming about the upcoming rainy season, I have picked up a book which is not less than a pleasant drizzle.

The book this week is “Malgudi days” by R.K. Narayan. Now if you are an Indian and you are above the age of say 10 years then I am sure that you must have heard about Malgudi days. Many of us have seen the TV series and have long adored the characters and stories from it.

This is one book which is in our blood and whenever one talks about it, it gives an altogether refreshing feeling. The short stories of Malgudi by R.K. Narayan are the household tales. The stories revolves around the small town of Malgudi in south India.

This book is even internationally recognized and irrespective of nationality, religion and region it has been adored by all.

And I am very excited to start this book. You rarely get such feeling with books which I am experiencing right now, a feeling of freshness, mystery and anticipation and a lot more.

I would be looking forward to write a review of this book and one thing I can tell even before reading this book, that you have to read this book whatever anyone says about it.

Till next time. Happy Reading!

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Review: Wise and Otherwise

Last week it has been tiring with many things to attend to, so couldn’t let you guys know about the book for the week 6. But fortunately I did manage to complete a book this week. The book for week 6 was “Wise & Otherwise A Salute to Life” by Sudha Murty. Many of us know her as wife of Dr. Narayan Murty but she is much more than just that. She is an academician, a prolific writer, a humanitarian and involved with many charities.

The book “Wise & Otherwise” is a collection of 51 short stories taken from author’s own life and life experiences. Most of them are short but 51 stories do take up around 270 odd pages.

The book is  an average read, it is more sort of a personal Diary/blog which a person might maintain and narrate his/her experiences. In some stories the author has tried to present different experiences of her life, in some she has depicted the human nature and some others are just a statement on the society today.

Some stories are nice but none of the story stands out, after a few days you won’t even remember a single story that is highly probable, nevertheless you will find it a decent read when you are reading it once. The good part is the stories end in 3-4 pages, so you don’t get to a point where you start getting bored.

Mainly stories are from IT background and author’s experiences with running charities and social projects through Infosys foundation. The one story that I liked was where a tribal chief in Sahyadri hills explains the author that there is humility in receiving too. And no matter how poor you are, there is always something that you can give to others.

All in all an average read, if you have nothing to do then you can read the book, will keep you satisfied although won’t leave a lasting impression.

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