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.