Book Review: Mock, Stalk and Quarrel

Book, Review, Satire, Mock, Readomania, Indrani, Anthology, Tales, Pensieve

“Good satire comes from anger. It comes from a sense of injustice, that there are wrongs in this world that need to be fixed.” – Carl Hiaasen

Giving words and a voice to our emotions through stories, or verse, is a way to express them without having to directly say what is troubling us. The world around us is not perfect, and looking at the flaws that can be corrected leads each of us to a different flaw that we feel needs to be eradicated soon. We may choose to express it differently. The idea is to give the reader something to think about. Humor is not a genre I’m very comfortable with, be it reading or writing; so satirical fiction is one that is way out of my comfort zone. But the use of satire to focus on an aspect of life has been there since ages.

This collection of stories keeps to its promise to bring satirical tales to the fore. Each writer has their own style, but the objective is common – to keep the stories as real as possible. The stories explore various avenues as well. From discussions on misogyny to domestic disputes, the continuation of old beliefs and customs and even the road to marriage, the authors capture it very well.

Social media is prominent everywhere these days. It’s a powerful tool to get together without actually getting together. Through it, we express our thoughts, discuss with near and dear. Perhaps that is one thing that the author of Girl Talk wanted to say too. Maybe it was just a different style of writing. The story sees the Goddesses talking with each other over a GodsApp group. To see the modern shades to the Goddesses’ character was brilliant. It made me smile. The problems with society explored in this story are some that are still seen even today. Their thoughts do make sense, and it is food for thought to the reader too.

Lakshana Palat’s story Red Card was another I liked reading. It’s so common to see a family sitting and debating how a marriage should go, whether there are problems in the marriage, or if the problem faced by the wife is one that is problematic. And even more so, the decision after the “discussion” is forced on the woman because “nothing really happened when it could have”. The author portrays the family very well. She shows how the woman Swara’s problem is taken so casually, with the father-in-law even continuing to watch TV while they “discuss” it. I liked the ending to the story too.

In a village setting, the panchayat system comes to the spotlight in Anirban Nanda’s God Gifted. At the beginning itself, the author shows how ridiculous some notions are when it comes to accepting some things. The story goes on to show that some of the beliefs of the “panch” should be more unacceptable than the matter that was brought in front of them. Yet, even now, those “omens” still are blindly accepted. And what need not be that big of a deal, is what is portrayed as an earth-shattering mistake.

I enjoyed reading this collection, but some stories I would like to mention in particular are Deepti Menon’s The Little Princess, Amrita Mukherjee’s The Dress Code, and Piyusha Purnima Vir’s In Search of Mr. Perfect. These are some that come to mind even after finishing the book.

Honestly, one can’t say “I was happy to read this book.” I don’t think the objective of the collection is to make the reader happy. It is to shine the light on the problems so the reader contemplates on it. That’s what makes this book beautiful. Each story manages to do that well. Perhaps I will re-read this too. I hope the book continues to be successful, and I’m glad that this book came my way.

Title: Mock, Stalk and Quarrel
Author: Indrani Ganguly
Publisher/ Imprint: Readomania
Pages: 284
Genre/ Sub-Genre: Fiction/ Short Stories
Rating: 4.00 of 5.00
Reviewed for: Publisher

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