Tag Archives: short stories

The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

the-legend-of-lakshmi-prasad-by-twinkle-khanna Title: The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad
Author: Twinkle Khanna
Publisher: Juggernaut Books
ISBN: 978-9386228055
Genre: Short Stories, Novella
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

I remember reading “Mrs Funnybones” last year and loving it to bits. I was floored by Twinkle Khanna’s writing and just couldn’t stop turning the pages. In fact, I finished the book in a couple of hours and the same happened while I was reading her second book “The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad” – a collection of three stories and a novella. It is fiction – some of it is inspired by real life as well, but the gravitas in these short stories is something else. They are not screaming for attention from the rooftop. They are subtle and graceful and extremely affable.

This collection of stories could take place anywhere. You could meet their characters while walking on the road. They are common people and some extraordinary things happen to them. This is one of the reasons I love fiction. Big things happen to so-called small people and Twinkle does a fantastic job of bringing it to life in the pages of her book. At the same time, before picking up this book, I was very skeptical of how she would be at writing fiction and lo behold, she surprised me. I was wrong to even be a bit cynical. The book is fantastic and I am not just saying this because I have loved “Mrs Funnybones” or because I think she is extremely hilarious.

My favourite story in the book of course is the one modelled after the sanitary man Arunachalam Muruganantham- the man who was solely driven to not only generating awareness about menstruation in rural India but also ensuring that the women there use sanitary pads that are hygienic and low-cost as well. I am stunned by what he has done, by what people like him do. I didn’t know of him earlier, I shall admit but after reading the short story I had to know more about him. He is a Padma Shri award winner for spreading awareness against traditional myths and practices around menstruation. Now this is the kind of action we need in the country.

At the same time, while reading this story, I firmly believe that all of us must talk of issues that people shirk from – in this case menstruation. Why don’t we talk of women’s health more often? Why don’t we have conversations around it? Feminism is not just meant for online discussions, I suppose and a lot of ground has to be covered and from that perspective, this collection sure does bring to light strong women, their way of life and the issues surrounding them.

While I absolutely loved, “The Sanitary Man from a Sacred Land” (which might I add was written with a very irreverent and at the same time controlled tone), I absolutely loved the story of the two sisters – Noni Appa and Binni. It is about finding love at any time and at any age. It is simple, sweet and will leave you with a wonderful aftertaste of belonging to someone. The fact that you are the master of your own life and can make choices, despite initial hiccups, being a woman in her late 60s amazed me. I felt for Noni Appa and I wish my mother would have remarried when she had the chance. We all need companions and nothing is truer than that.

I also enjoyed the other two in this collection. The titular tale is of a girl almost saving girls of a village and in the process saving a village and ends up a hero of her own life. Twinkle Khanna’s writing is breezy, profound and most interesting. This book is full of impact, grace, tenderness and relevant issues of our times. I would highly recommend it to one and all. Do go out there, read The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, talk about it, and gift it to people you know and love.

American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis

American Housewife - Stories by Helen Ellis Title: American Housewife: Stories
Author: Helen Ellis
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 978-0385541039
Genre: Short Stories, Literary Fiction
Pages: 208
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

Imagine Desperate Housewives being written into a book – just a little funnier, sarcastic, edgy perhaps and with a dash of American angst, loneliness and the no-good housewife, trying to make something of herself. But the stories in Helen Ellis’s book “American Housewife” is not just about the average housewife, so don’t be fooled by the title. The book is about dreams gone wrong, frustrations dying to get a way out, of thwarted hopes and a lot of pointed commentaries on womanhood and the world around them today.

The stories range from the unique initiation ritual of a book club (the twist is there throughout the story and you can sense it) to the set of a rigged television show to the getaway car of a pageant princess – they are all unique and full of wit and tragedy.

I think for me reading this book felt like I could connect on so many levels – well not of being stuck in a marriage or being betrayed in a relationship, but just that I could relate to the women and the layers of intensity of emotions of every kind that Ellis draws up for this through the dozen stories.

What struck me the most while reading these stories was the tone and pace of each story and how each is different from the other, when it comes to those two parameters. Some stories are definitely sharper than the others, and some just jolt you off your daily existence to make you see how bizarre life can really be.

“American Housewife” is a brilliant, raw and real collection of stories that tells you a lot about women in general, only if you care to listen or in this case read. I would most certainly recommend it to every one out there. Waiting for her next!

Eros Unbound by Anais Nin

Eros Unbound by Anais Nin Title: Eros Unbound
Author: Anais Nin
Publisher: Penguin books
ISBN: 9780141032924
Genre: Erotica, Literary Fiction, Short Stories
Pages: 106
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Eros Unbound by Anais Nin.

Thank God for writers like Anais Nin, whose books have been around way before the “new-age” so-called erotic writers cropped up. Anais Nin’s erotica writing is not just something else but it still continues to enthrall and titillate readers’ world over.

“Eros Unbound” is just a sneak peek into her writing. There is a large body of work, which I would urge everyone to explore if you really want to know what sensuous writing can do to you. At the same time, Nin’s writing is closely linked to the facets of love and spirituality (not the one attributed to religion in any way), which is what makes it even more believable.

The book consists of eight stories and each one but of course has to have a generous measure of sex, moans and pleasure as its core. From a naïve model who slowly discovers her sexuality to an erotic moonlight encounter on a beach, Anais’s writing is stark, naked and for all to see, just like the person she was.

What I think will surprise most first-timers to her writing is that she was most certainly way ahead of her times. Even now, at least in a country like India, we are not encouraged to speak of our innermost desires, whereas not only did she speak of them and write about them, but also lived a free and most satisfying life.

People who I interact with (the gay men that is) from a sexual standpoint; seem to think I am all about sex and horny most of the time. I take that as a compliment. The way I look at it is that I am living a life that is not tinged with hypocrisy and I know what I want – in and outside of the four-poster, so that’s that.

“Eros Unbound” is a great starting point if you haven’t read anything by Nin and I assure you that you will be hooked to her writing.

Killing and Dying: Six Stories by Adrian Tomine

Killing and Dying - Six Stories by Adrian Tomine Title: Killing and Dying: Six Stories
Author: Adrian Tomine
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 978-0571325146
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 128
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

A good graphic novel always seems to take away the blues. Well, most of the time that is if you aren’t reading one by Adrian Tomine. It will add to your blues. It will make you a bit melancholic and it will also make you never want to read it again. But it will also make you aware. It will make you realize your surroundings and the people in them and perhaps look at the world differently.

Adrian Tomine’s graphic works make you think so much more that it is sometimes unbelievable that graphic novels have that kind of power. “Killing and Dying” his latest offering is just that. It is a collection of six graphic stories. These slice of life stories depict life the way it is without any sugar coating. These stories are something which we have all experienced – ranging in themes from loneliness to body image issues to severe angst.

My favourite story in the entire collection is “Translated” which is about a Japanese mother and her child and their reconnection with the husband and the father. It is tender, funny and groundbreaking in the sense that none of the characters’ faces are shown.

“Killing and Dying” is perhaps one of the best comic books I’ve read this year. It is brief and full of small moments of sadness and joy. It is the kind of graphic book which everyone must read. Tomine does a stellar job of portraying his characters and makes the reader see the view that they would not have otherwise seen it. I would highly recommend this one.

387 Short Stories : Day 320 to Day 325

Here are the six stories read till the 30th of October 2014:

Day 320: 25th of October 2014: The Writer by Ellis Sharp
Day 321: 26th of October 2014: The Faber Book of Adultery by Jonathan Gibbs
Day 322: 27th of October 2014: I Arrive First by Emma Jane Unsworth
Day 323: 28th of October 2014: Private Tuition with Mr. Bose by Anita Desai
Day 324: 29th of October 2014: Izzat by Ashapurna Devi
Day 325: 30th of October 2014: The Hijra by Kamala Das

387 Short Stories : Day 294 to Day 318

Day 294: 29th of September 2014: Zelig by Benjamin Rosenblatt
Day 295: 30th of September 2014: Wild Plums by Grace Stone Coates
Day 296: 1st of October 2014: Willi by E.L. Doctorow
Day 297: 2nd of October 2014: A Poetics for Bullies by Stanley Elkin
Day 298: 3rd of October 2014: Redemption by John Gardner
Day 299: 4th of October 2014: Verona: A Young Woman Speaks by Harold Brodkey
Day 300: 5th of October 2014: The Ledge by Lawrence Sargent Hall
Day 301: 6th of October 2014: Water Liars by Barry Hannah
Day 302: 7th of October 2014: Least Resistance by Wayne Harrison
Day 303: 8th of October 2014: Into Silence by Marlin Barton
Day 304: 9th of October 2014: Bullet Number Two by Hannah Tinti
Day 305: 10th of October 2014: Do Something by Kate Walbert
Day 306: 11th of October 2014: The Bris by Eileen Polllack
Day 307: 12th of October 2014: Allegiance by Aryn Kayle
Day 308: 13th of October 2014: Balto by T.C. Boyle
Day 309: 14th of October 2014: Gunpowder Alley by Bill Pronzini
Day 310: 15th of October 2014: Midair by Frank Conroy
Day 311: 16th of October 2014: The Bystander by Gina Berriault
Day 312: 17th of October 2014: The Lover of Horses by Tess Gallagher
Day 313: 18th of October 2014: Rock Springs by Richard Ford
Day 314: 19th of October 2014: The Misfits by Arthur Miller
Day 315: 20th of October 2014: Akhnilo by James Salter
Day 316: 21st of October 2014: Walking Out by David Quammen
Day 317: 22nd of October 2014: Letters from the Samantha by Mark Helprin
Day 318: 23rd of October 2014: Bright and Morning Star by Richard Wright

387 Short Stories : Update: Day 237 to Day 254

A long round-up of 387 short stories, which will soon come to an end on December 31, 2014. I will for sure miss it.

Here is the list this time round:

Day 237: 3rd of August 2014: Ping by Samuel Beckett
Day 238: 4th of August 2014: The Burning Baby by Dylan Thomas
Day 239: 5th of August 2014: The Enigma by John Fowles
Day 240: 6th of August 2014: In the Hours of Darkness by Edna O’Brien
Day 241: 7th of August 2014: Weekend by Fay Weldon
Day 242: 8th of August 2014: Structural Anthropology by Adam Mars-Jones
Day 243: 9th of August 2014: Flora by David Rose
Day 244: 10th of August 2014: The Pensioner by William Caine
Day 245: 11th of August 2014: Broadsheet Ballad by A.E. Coppard
Day 246: 12th of August 2014: A Hedonist by John Galsworthy
Day 247: 13th of August 2014: The Song by May Edginton
Day 248: 14th of August 2014: Seaton’s Aunt by Walter de la Mare
Day 249: 15th of August 2014: The Christmas Present by Richard Crompton
Day 250: 16th of August 2014: The Olive by Algernon Blackwood
Day 251: 17th of August 2014: Bedbugs by Clive Sinclair
Day 252: 18th of August 2014: My Wife is a White Russian by Rose Tremain
Day 253: 19th of August 2014: The Rain Horse by Ted Hughes
Day 254: 20th of August 2014: More Friend than Lodger by Angus Wilson