Saturday 18 February 2017

Dark Chocolate

In the last few years I have found myself to be more attracted towards non-fiction and hence it was with some trepidation that I picked These Circuses that Sweep Through the Landscape (Aleph, 2017). What attracted me towards this collection of short stories was the unusual title and the unusual cover design. This is the debut collection of stories by a London based writer, Tejaswani Apte-Rahm, who has spent her life in places as diverse as Serbia, Cambodia,Israel and Bangladesh besides India. Although the stories cover a wide range of themes, the common thread running through them is a dark and grim streak, at times bordering on the obscure and at times with a dash of humor. The stories will remain with you long after you’ve put the book down and don’t be surprised if you find yourself visiting some of the stories again. The range in the theme and in the story setting is truly amazing.  If  ‘Cotton’ deals with a lonely girl  in a house who finds that the floor suddenly getting littered with white fluff and is determined to find the source of the same, ‘Drinks at Seven’ deals with the complex relationships and sexual undercurrents between two couples gathered for  dinner. In the rousing opening story, ‘Homo Coleoptera’, the Beetle collector finds himself getting more and more tangled in a trap of his own making. However, the stories that follow, fail to live up to the expectations set by the opening story. In the title story, which happens to be the last in the collection, an ageing architect has a devious plan up his sleeve which he plans to unleash on his own masterpieces.

If you are looking for an easy read or a romantic adventure, this won’t be your cup of tea and you are recommended to give it a pass. Nonetheless, if dark and complex stories are your scene then you won’t be disappointed by this collection. Overall this is a promising debut and we should hear more about her in the future.

'I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.'

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