Skip to main content

Book Review - Urban Shots - The Love Collection


Buy Urban Shots: The Love Collection


 
The short story in English is alive and well and living in India. Several Urban Shots anthologies of short stories  have been released here by Grey Oak/Westland in the last two years. This anthology, The Love Collection, edited by Sneh Thakur,  is a worthy addition to the collection.

Contrary to what one might initially suspect, this is not escapist romantic fiction. Although the stories deal with love of the romantic type in its many manifestations, this fiction is rooted in harsh reality.  It is none the less enjoyable for all that.  Each story is comfortably short  and  can be read during lunch hour or coffee break.  

There is  a variety of situations to deal with when it comes to love in urban India.  The girl in a northern town, debating whether to marry the man she loves instead of the man who could give her an affluent life.  The ‘happily’ married man who regularly meets a girlfriend for a quiet  date.   The earnest young man in a southern city who consults  an astrologer regularly to discover God’s plan for his future and believes that he met his wife as a result. And many more.  Each situation unique yet  somehow familiar.  If you live in India, as I do, these characters could be your neighbours and colleagues.

Some  stories  tug at your heart.  One, set in  Pune left me particularly moved, as it concerned the bombing  at the German Bakery which occurred  in the recent past.  That was quite apart from the killer twist at the end of the story, which took me completely by surprise.

Since this is an anthology of fiction and not a novel, there’s a veritable choir of writing voices.  I particularly enjoyed the work of Ahmed Faiyaz, who happens to have three very distinctive stories here.

I noticed some technical flaws.  That poignant story about an ageing couple could have been drastically improved (in my humble opinion) by losing the first one and a half pages.   Characters don’t leap off the page when they don’t speak until half way through page two.   Readers  don’t  need to wade through interminable narrative.  They learn about the characters by seeing them speak and  interact.  Another story, in which the main character makes love to a ghost didn’t convince me either.  A ghost is a spirit, not flesh and blood and even if paranormal romances are becoming popular, I couldn’t suspend my disbelief to enjoy the story as much as I wanted to.  I’d have been convinced had the writer dreamed the lovemaking instead of ‘doing it’.  Also, I detest point of view (POV) shifts in short fiction.  Having to jump from inside one person’s head to another’s,breaks the flow, for me at least.  Thankfully, it occurs in this volume only occasionally. 

Stray flaws notwithstanding, I still say this book is paise vasool.  An attractive yet discreet volume which can be easily carried around to keep you entertained on the bus, the train and the waiting room.  Pick up your copy today or grab it online here.



This review is a part of the http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews" target="_blank">Book Reviews Program at  http://www.blogadda.com">BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!














Comments

  1. Thanks to a gift of this book, I was able to read the story set in Pune. I am yet to read most of the others, but what I have read leads me to believe that the short story genre is something that I should now pay some attention to.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is one that I haven't come across, but it looks good.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

    ReplyDelete
  3. I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog

Global Peace - Is It Possible? LBC Post

I can't believe it's Friday already and time for another LBC post.  The Loose Blogger's Consortium (LBC) is a blogging group consisting of about half a dozen of us who blog together every Friday on the same topic.  We are indebted to Ramana (aka blogger Rummuser) for this week's topic.  Instead of just giving a straightforward topic like anyone else would, he posed a question instead.  Is global peace possible? he asked.  I decided to answer his question in a Tweet sized sentence.



Is global peace possible?  Of course it is. If everyone gets in harmony with each other.   But will it happen?  How on earth would I know?


As we say in Ireland (well, as they used to say when I lived there two decades ago), that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks to All-Free-Download for the photo.  Thanks to Lettercount for their character counting facilities.  And thanks to my LBC group for being there every Friday in blogging solidarity.

Good Intentions

I had great intentions for this week.  I'd write a thousand words every day, review six books, get my Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) post up well in advance.  And did I?  No, no, no.  I wrote about two hundred words per day and have been trying to read and review two books and still not finished reading.  My target of 19,000 words until today by now is around 15,000 on my 100kWords in 100 Days Challenge.  It seems I'm just not cutting the mustard.

I have the intentions.  I just don't seem to have the mojo to carry out the things I want to do. So many intentions, not enough time.  I've not been sleeping well lately.  Probably very tired.

So - my intention now is to try to get more sleep.  Then carry out the original intentions.That' what I intend to do.  As of now.  Meanwhile, my post is up one day late.

I had to go out to the bank this morning to get some pending work finished.  I clicked the above picture en route.  It seems that after a three week winter, we're…

April Fool (LBC Post)

One morning, when I went to school in 1977, or was it 1978, when I was a first or second year student in the Irish secondary school system (which is 7th or 8th Class in India) I noticed something very odd indeed. It was a notice pinned to the notice board. It read as follows:

THE INTER HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST

'The Inter' or the Intermediate Certificate Examination as it was known then, now the Junior Certificate Examination, was a pretty crucial examination. It's called the 'Class Ten Board Examination' in India and the High School Certificate elsewhere.

I knew something was wrong, but couldn't quite figure it out. The notice sparked a minor frenzy. When the date was revealed to be April the 1st, everything made sense.

It's strange how the 1st April can take some people by surprise.

I haven't noticed anything unusual this year. Except that today, I have a rather horrible toothache. But I'll have to go get it sorted.

April Fool jokes are…