Book Review: Carnival


I am personally not an ardent fan of Short story genre as I haven’t read much of this genre. It’s not that I don’t like short stories as such but it never occurred to me to try this type of literature as I found myself more inclined and glued to the longer version of the game. So when I got a chance to get hold of Carnival – a collection of 15 Short Stories by multiple (promising) Indian authors, I couldn’t hold my excitement.

The recent phase of Indian Literature gives one a firm belief that old days of quality literature are coming back and Carnival, once again, does re-affirms that opinion.

Some brief thoughts on each of the offering that comprise the merriment in the Carnival procession:

The festivities of the Carnival start with Rishabh Chaturvedi’s Rhode Island which depicts the series of events in a Russian Oil Millionaire’s life at a desolated island where humans and animals are hunted for pleasure by higher class people. The author attempts to try his hand at a different class of story which though starts a bit slowly but soon takes off. It’s a nice attempt by the author with some good narrative of the morbid environ at the island.

Next in the line is Smile by Aparna Sunderesan which is one of my personal favourites of the lot for the sheer simplicity of emotions and freshness. Once I read this story, I had to re-read the same to have that silent smile on my face again & even after the second time, I craved for more. It surely stirs you up like a blow of fresh air with a complementary feel good flavour, among the best one of the lot for the sheer way it has been scripted.

The Music Shop by Sharath Komaraju again renders a wonderful melody to the reader to cherish. The story is about the protagonist who meets himself from the other world who is travelling in opposite direction with time and tells him the event of his future demise. Due credit to the author for creating a wonderful story comprising a well thoughtful plot and a great presentation that grips you through till the end.

Moraka House by Rishabh Chaturvedi explores the greed in human nature with a tinge of comedy. It is a well written piece in which the greedy protagonists find themselves in unwanted situations as the story progresses.

Black Sails by Dushyant Shekhawat is a dark read of treachery & betrayal about a person who kills and robs his younger brother of his money only to find himself caught in the web of misery and deception. It’s a nice take on law of universe that ‘As you sow so shall you reap.’

Ayesha by Vivek Banerjee is again a stealer, a story about a lady who is petrified by an unknown stalker and the way she deals with the situation. The author has meticulously scripted the story that keeps the curiosity on till the end.

Envy is the second story in the book by Sharath Komaraju. This is a science fiction which dwells into the relationship of human with the robot. It depicts the interaction of the last surviving person on the earth with a Robot in which former tries to reason with the later to limit his job to a mechanical code devoid of any inclination towards music & art. I am not a keen reader of the science fictions but the author has spun this off well to make it a good read.

Grandma’s Secret by Rohit Das is again one of the nicer story in the lot which has all the elements of story-telling ranging from emotions to mysterious twists and turns. The climax of the story does shocks you with un-imaginable twist leaving the reader wondering.

Shawn Pereira’s To Tango with Mango stands true to its title; a light hearted read providing those comic giggles to the reader multiple times through-out.

Skin by Muna Hussen specially deserves a pat on the back for dealing with a unfortunate and sensitive issue of Female Genital Mutilation. It enumerates a story of a girl set in orthodox traditional set up who is subjected to the trauma of the female circumcision. It’s a puncher and compels the reader to ponder and question hard about the mindset of certain section of the society.

Dr. Ketaki Patwardhan’s The Girl on Train is again a nice read well created with elements that hold reader’s attention till the end. It has those moments of suspense and awe that surprises the reading mind.

Opportunity knocks but once by Sheela Jaywant is a story about a doctor who finds his counterpart on the operation table to be operated, a counterpart who has threatened to expose him for the malpractices & ethical misconduct. This beautifully represents moral dilemma in one’s mind while choosing right or wrong.

Énd of an Era by Sharath Komaraju is a light read on college romance.

Sreelatha Chakravarty’s Agni offers a thoughtful take on one of the episode of the epic Ramayana when mother Sita was compelled to take fire test to prove her purity and chastity. The beauty of the story lies in the fact that the same has been written from Sita’s perspective and depicts the thoughts & emotions that churns in her mind when she actually has to undergo a test to prove her purity.

The last story of the collection Carnival marks a perfect epilogue to the whole festivity procession. A well thought script that amuses, entertains and haunts you making it a perfect end to the celebrated journey.

The Carnival can surely offer you a welcome break from longer version of the stories as it offers a mesmerising blend of a wide genre of stories representing various facets and colors of life. This is specially a ‘feel good’ read for the simple reason that it provides you an affirmed assurance about the upcoming era of Indian Literature.

Title: Carnival
Author: Multiple Authors
Publisher/ Imprint:
Pages: 235
Genre/ Sub-Genre: Fiction/ Short Stories
Rating: 3.00 of 5
Reviewed for: Publisher

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