Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why We Don’t Talk: A Review

By John Cheeran
Here comes a very contemporary short story anthology that captures the flavour of Indian Writing in English (IWE). Why We Don’t Talk has contributions from 27 writers and the anthology has a distinct feminine feel to it. Some of the very well established names in IWE figure here, including Anita Nair, Chetan Bhagat, Jaishree Mishra and Usha KR.
A large chunk of them are eminently readable though there are very few stories that will stay with you once you put the book down. A majority of the stories record very intense private conversations but fail to start a dialogue with the reader. Would someone be interested in hearing out my version of events is a question that should have been with the contributors.
Amit Varma’s Urban Planning breaks from the self-indulgent mould and engages the reader right from the start. It’s an irreverent take on Indian reality where bureaucracy and political class pretend they are in control of things whereas they are as much clueless as you and me. Varma brings in humour and delineates his characters with ease and authenticity, things that determine the shelf life of a story. Joshua Newton’s Taj Mahal is a spirited attempt to peek into a familial relationship that cries out for care, touch and love. But one can’t figure out how reading a survey on people’s sexual preference and behaviour would act as the key to unlock Taj Mahal. Yes, there is a need to talk about this and much more.

Title: Why We Don’t Talk
Compiled by Shinie Antony
Publisher: Rupa and Co
Rs 295, Pages 239

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