Thursday 1 May 2014

Book Review- The Vigil And Other Stories- Gita V. Reddy

Title- The Vigil and Other Stories
Publishers- Frog Books
Author- Gita V Reddy
ISBN- 978-93-82473-34-3
Genre- Fiction/ Short stories
Price- Rs 125/-

This review is a part of the book review program by The Reader's Cosmos.

I have in my hand this book of fifteen short stories written with much effort on the author's part and the same is visible in the plots of most her stories. The author has a background in mathematics and one would expect the stories to be a little more square but on the contrary, the stories are even more laced with human emotions and have a conclusive moral tone to them which are both a turn-on and turn-off depending on your reading choice.

This book does not fall in literary genre and the art of story-telling has taken a backseat to the actual story, but that would be an unfair basis to write off the author as most popular authors these days are following the same trend including international bestselling ones. Reviewing a short stories book is also difficult for the reason that it is more like reviewing 15 different books as each story has a soul of its own.

The cover art has been done by the author herself and is beautiful and adds to the book's structure. The first story- The Vigil is about a mother and her tryst with the myriad emotions with pregnancy. There seems to be an hasty attempt to define characters which has led the story to be leading nowhere until the middle. Then, it begins to make sense and ends with too much sense i.e. the author does the job of forming conclusions for the reader too which is something that defies the purpose of a short story. I think it could have been kept a little more cryptic and symbolic but then, objectivism has been a lost art since Ayn Rand.

Another story 'Delusions' is much better in terms of plot and unpredictability. The characters too are more nuanced and have an interesting 'air' about them. Although, there is a mess up with name of one of the protagonists, I still liked this story better. It is quite possible that what I liked in a certain story might be a turn off for a certain audience but in that spirit, this book has something for everyone. The stories and characters do not have common themes, they do have a larger than life, pulp-fiction-esque feel about them but the narrative is tight and the author has remained true to her instincts.

Talking about the language, you wouldn't need the dictionary for this book and also, it is almost lackluster when it comes to ornamental use of language or even figures of speech. The book could have used a better language but then it wouldn't have been readable to many people so, I guess it was the compromise our authors have to do for wider readership; that or maybe it is just something they are comfortable with.

This book is recommended for those who want to listen to tales and have a love toward lazy afternoon stories. A no-no for those who are Anton Chekhov fans and love story-telling over the story itself.

Happy reading.

My ratings- **1/2 (Two and a half stars out of Five)

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