Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nude and other short stories - A Review

Intriguing title, isn't it? Well, try reading a book loudly proclaiming 'Nude' (calligraphically embedded in a suggestive figure) on its cover in a crowded metro, and the piercing stares of passers-by shifting from the cover to the engrossed reader will tell you exactly how intriguing this title is. Part provocative, part alluring - a title like this can compel you to conjure a lot of thoughts about the kind of content offered in the book. Most of those thoughts involuntarily tilt towards the bolder side. Alas. This title was just one among the many titles of short stories which make this book, and is in no way indicative of generic essence running through those stories.

Nude and other short stories is an anthology of short fiction pieces which won The MAG 2011 short story writing competition. The nineteen short stories published in this anthology are penned by bloggers from across the country, and they deal with people, circumstances, incidents and human psyche, among other things. Few stories, including the titular 'Nude' are such which make you stop and notice the maturity and sensitivity of the authors. Still others, like Karma Yogi, which is for me an aimless biographical sketch, go nowhere near catching the imagination of a reader. It is a thin book, with crisp content, but not a lot of stories which one might be tempted to flow along with.

I have to admit, I am one of those who do judge a book by its cover, no matter how antagonistic it sounds to a popular dogma. With a cleverly chosen title, a graphic artist could've (should've) churned out something more tantalizing, inspiring. Besides a few stories, its cover is another thing which does not work for me with respect to this book.

The foreword by an anonymous editor serves as a beautiful introduction. Thereafter, the only stories which I liked and took home (literally, since most of my reading is done while commuting), are -

1. Nude by Purnima Rao - A very smart title for a sensitive yet subtle tale. Subtle, but giving away hints of intensity. Telling anything about this story is perhaps ruining what it has in store for its readers.

2. Of Dreams and that thing called Fate  by Himangshu Dutta - The tale of an orphaned kid, left to cope by himself on the cruel streets of the world. How his story ends is exactly how his story had started. Spoiler? No. Reading it will be much different than reading about it.

3. The Lost Earrings by Kalpana Abhijith - Like a modern fable. Of thefts and repentances.

4. The Suicide Note by Vivek Singh - The plot is as much as the title reveals. It is the expression of the author which honestly left me enchanted and enriched. This is one story I could not help flowing with.

5. The Traveling Suitcase by Manu Chaudhary - A heartwarming tale of goodness.

There were many other stories which had a great potential, because they drew inspiration from very real and relatable themes, like The Perfect Girlfriend, The Unfortunate Episode etc. However, their potential remain untapped, because these stories did not cross over into the realm of imagination. To me, it seemed I was reading a narrative of someone's life, that too not in the most outstanding language. In all, this anthology was just about an average book for me. 2 stars on 5 is my verdict.


  1. Great reviews it seems that this book is not that much kindling..:) thank you for reviews..:)