Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Review #7: Transactions of Belongings

Name: Transactions of Belongings
Author: Jaya Padmanabhan
No. of Pages: 197
Genre: Fiction/Short Stories
Publisher: Platinum Press (An imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.)
Price: Rs. 145/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says: 
The short stories in the collection blend emotion and introspection. Moments of urgency and sweetness are fully canvassed and explored. The stories draw out and examine the texture of emotional belonging. In "His Curls," a mother suffers the anguish of wondering if her son is a terrorist. The ending is left to interpretation and several possibilities. The reader is forced to teeter between laughter and sadness in the tragicomedy of "An Indian Summer." "The Blue Arc" is a redemptive tale of a young woman who shows enormous courage. Each story in the collection is a journey of insights. Transactions of Belonging is a unique, intense and gripping work of short fiction.

"In this debut collection, Jaya Padmanabhan has brought together a diverse and memorable group of characters from many kinds of backgrounds. With meticulous details and keen observation, she brings them to life and makes us care about them-their poverty, their loneliness, their tragedies and their triumphs."-CHITRA DIVAKARUNI, author of The Mistress of Spices and Oleander Girl

About the author: 
Jaya Padmanabhan has worked as a Copywriter, Sales Manager, Collections Agent, Software Engineer and Television Producer before emerging as a writer. She believes that her previous jobs distinctly inhabit her work. She has won three Katha Short Story Contest titles, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story recognition and the New America Media award for feature reporting. She lives in California with her husband, mother, twin girls and a Goldendoodle. She is the editor of India Currents magazine.

WHAT I FEEL ABOUT THE BOOK:
I found the cover very intriguing. A pair of eyes peering over a crumpled/worn out piece of paper promises that the stories would be different. And different they were.

The book consists of twelve short stories, all different and quite intense. But a sense of sadness and a lot of emotions are common to all. Here's a peek into the stories:
  •  "The Blue Arc" is the story of a young girl who, given her background, had a promising future. But fate played a cruel joke on her family and she turned into a sex worker.
  • "Strapped for Time" is the story of an old man who is lonely and who lives a routine life minute by minute.
  • "Curtains Drawn" is a story which reminds us of men who drink and abuse their families.
  • "The Little Matter of Fresh Meadows Feces" talks about people living abroad and how their parents back home lead their lives and how their children become foreigners in their own homes.
  • "Indian Summer" is a bittersweet tale of the relationship a typical teenager with her mother in a foreign land.
I loved reading the stories. They are immensely gripping and intense. At the end of each story I was gasping for more. I wanted to know what happens next. I wanted more. May be it's the way a good short story should make you feel, isn't it!

I feel the author is an amazing writer. She definitely has a way with words. The book is a piece of mature work. I look forward to reading many of her work.

I give the "Transactions of Belongings" 5 stars on a scale of 5. Do grab a copy guys!


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