First and foremost, three cheers for APK Publishers for publishing a book of short stories. Almost everybody in the publishing industry (from publishers to agents to writers) assure me that short stories do not sell unless from a celebrity pen and are therefore unpublishable. It is heartening to see that Prashant Karhade of APK does not subscribe to this philosophy.
Now coming to Vikram Karve, a familiar name to those who have been following his blogs on Sulekha.com, this is his first collection of short stories. He writes about today’s urban lifestyle, about love (and lack of it), life, relationships, desires (both fulfilled and unfulfilled), yearning and boredom. His characters are real life and well etched. The twenty seven stories traverse familiar ground, invoking in the reader feelings as diverse as joy, pathos and at times amusement. But there is a problem. After a while, the emotions get repetitive. Most of the heroes are bearded, he-man, master mariner types; the women are sexy and attractive (usually dressed in tight fitting pink t-shirts tucked into hip hugging jeans) and certain phrases(Drying a divorcee’s tears is one of the most dangerous pastimes known to a man) and situations appear multiple times. That does not mean that the book is not an enjoyable read. I loved some of the stories.Lovedale touched my heart, Parting Gift is both sad and funny, Rendezvous at sunrise is different, A lazy hot afternoon in Mumbai is exquisite, Deccan Queen ingenious, Freedom is honest and Chilled beer is well, chilling. Some stories do not work that well (Every dog has his day is corny,Electrophoresis is plain silly) but none of them can be called bad.
Karve writes well and did surprise me with a few words I had not heard /read before (must get myself a good dictionary, the one in Microsoft Word has serious limitations). Overall, a good attempt and a must read for short story buffs. (My rating 3/5)
To buy the book online, please click here.