Daily Archives: September 16, 2012

Aerogrammes and Other Stories by Tania James

Title: Aerogrammes and Other Stories
Author: Tania James
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISBN: 978-8-184-00301-7
Genre: Short Stories
Pages: 180
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Whenever I am about to read a new collection of stories from someone who is just about trying to step foot in this genre, I get very apprehensive. I love the short-story genre. It is something else. If I could, I would have written a piece in praise of the short story. I just would have so much to say.

With this, I must talk about the short-story collection I have just finished reading. It is called, “Aerogrammes and Other Stories” by Tania James and it is one of the best reads for me this month.

It has all the elements of fiction – drama, intrigue, adventure, mystery (well to some extent), dry humour, love, and a ghost story as well – all rolled into one collection. Every story is more unique than the other and that is what makes this collection superb. James knows how to catch the pulse of the reader and she does it in an amazing way right from the first story to the last one.

The collection kick starts with; “Lion and Panther in London” is about a wrestling championship, which unfolds in a very interesting manner. “Girl Marries Ghost”, one of my favourite short stories in the book is about a girl who meets a ghost, who wants to marry her, so he can return to the physical world. The title story is a sad story about a father who has been dumped in a home for the aged and he waits for his son to visit him every week.

The other six stories center on identity, loss, redemption, and love all rolled into one as the reader explores the worlds James’ characters inhabit. The stories sparkle with originality and sensitivity. Every word is in place and nothing seems out of context. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories spanning London, India and the US. The perspective is new. The voice definitely is. I would also recommend her debut novel, “Atlas of Unknowns, written with the same enthusiasm. Aerogrammes and Other Stories should definitely be next on your To Be Read list.

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Book Review: The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson

Title: The Daylight Gate
Author: Jeanette Winterson
Publisher: Hammer Books
ISBN: 978-0-09-956185-9
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 194
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

I have always loved what Winterson writes. I have read everything that she has written, including her book for children and her non-fictional pieces as well. To me, she is everything a writer should be, but then again that is purely a personal opinion. I was overjoyed on receiving a copy of her latest, “The Daylight Gate” and could not stop reading it.

Here is something about the book: The Daylight Gate is set in England in 1612, a time of turmoil for the country – both in terms of religion and faith. This is the time when James I was in reign. A time of Catholicism, accusation and torturous purgatory. Witch-hunting was at its peak. That is essentially at the heart of the book.

The book is centered on the infamous Pendle witches’ trial and its aftermath. The incidents of their trial are true and set in Lancaster, where it all began and ended. Winterson but obviously fictionalizes it a little. The story centers on Alice Nutter, one of the witches and how by discovering a crucifix, does the trial start and its consequences.

In her latest book, Winterson leaves it all to the reader to decide – Were the witches really that? Was it moral to do what was done? She presents a solid piece of work – combined with facts and fiction. The writing was in short chapters and the punch was immediate and direct at times. There were undertones of feminism but they ended almost as soon as they began, without overtaking the essence of the book.

The book is not a read for the squeamish. There are gory blood scenes which probably are required, considering the plot and the context. It is well-constructed and the atmosphere that is created is just right. A must read for people who want to read something different for sure.

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