Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Of Beasts & Beauty : Short Stories By Bindu (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!


8th Book of 2021

Writing short stories is an art which is very difficult even for the writers who think and write continuously. Even the authors who publish full-fledged novel say that writing short stories are a different game altogether as you have limited words to define your character, make their situation familiar to the reader and also craft a moving story around it. I have read many compilations of short stories and anthologies but very few have made their mark in order to make me recommend them to my readers. I have just completed reading “Of Beasts and Beauty” written by the authoress, Bindu. The book consists of 13 short stories where each of them is distinct and unique and says something which will make you move uncomfortably in your seat. This is one anthology that I must say can get the due for the short story writers.


The short stories mentioned in this book plays basically on the theme of the title of the book which has two keywords: Beauty and Beasts. In some of the stories, you will find beauty and beast in two different characters whereas in other stories, you will find both of them imbibed in a single character itself. Either the beauty is turning into the beast or the beast is turning into the beauty. Many stories are women-oriented and I liked the way they are been handled where they don’t scream feminism and women-empowerment in your ears but speak it in a way that you understand a tough life that a woman in India has to go through.


The writing style of Bindu is quite advanced which will make the people reading literature resonate with the language and the stories. Some beginners might find tough to understand the language due to the advanced way of crafting a sentence – sometimes actively and passively. Also, the stories aren’t straight-forward for the school-going kid to understand them but they are meant for matured audience who have read some incredible stuffs or understand the language in which the authoress is speaking on some really deep topics with elegance and patience.


Every story is of around 13-15 pages and some of them are written so beautifully that you’ll feel that you are reading a poem or watching a painting for a long time. Bindu definitely has talent that speaks in each and every word in her stories. She is very particular about the message she wants to convey through her stories and you can relate to it by the climax of every story. After completing the book, I could understand the cover page of the book where a girl’s image is blur. I am keeping this a secret for you to read the book yourself and decode it.


I would like to mention few stories and the insights from it:

-          “The Longest Night” talks about a girl’s struggle and compromises in her job as an air-hostess.

-          “Munimji” speaks of how a woman is capable yet society judges her at every stage- either in her marriage or even after she is again single after her husband’s demise.

-          “Ramratni and the Far Gymkhana” is about the patience and humiliations a woman can keep bearing for her children.

-          “Samer” is about what drug addiction can do to you – how slave you become of it once you start possessing it.

-          “The Leopard Diaries” is the story I believe author got the chance to show her philosophical and spiritual side.

-          “Sculpture” is such a unique writing piece where you meet with a character of girl who sculpts and surprises everyone around her. Also, how she relates the sculpture with her own body experience is something I liked to read a lot.

-          “Meeting & Mating” makes you think if what we teach our children is something we ourselves understand and follow. I liked the way whole story is kept very light and the hard-hitting message is given only in the end.

-          The last story “I Fell in Love with a Trippy Gypsy!” is a nice end given to the book which talks about so many contemporary and social problems.


Now, talking about few drawbacks, I must say that the language of authoress is little tough for the new beginners to read. I believe authoress could have written few stories in a light language whereas few in the way she has written to give the book the balance it needed for catering to all class of readers. Secondly, few stories are dragged a bit which I believe makes it boring for a while in between. Lastly, I feel that considering few stories in the book, I was expecting more spiritual or philosophical take from it but author keeps it limited to the story itself without taking that dimension into consideration which I feel could have given little more life to some stories.


Overall, I must say this book shall be a favourite in every reader’s shelf who likes reading good and matured short stories with some darkness in it. I give this book 4.25 stars out of 5. I wish to read a full-fledged novel by the author Bindu in future.







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