Monday, January 18, 2016

Book Review : The Japanese Wife ( Kunal Basu )

A clash of cultures ? Or an amalgamation to cater to the preferences of an increasingly globalized audience ? Maybe a bit of both I would say. Kunal Basu quite manages to author a clutch of short stories that manages to make one sit up and take notice. While each story is cleverly composed and clearly not on the repetitive side, some of them are definitely more entertaining and heart-warming than the rest.

The first and most important one is 'The Japanese Wife'. Subtle, emotional and providing a view into a strangely knotted web of human relationships, this one beautiful and stands for love of a platonic kind. Nothing that we commonly witness in this age but nevertheless it exists and thrives in some corner. The relationship between a school teacher and his Japanese penfriend turned wife is extremely moving. And more so at the climax when she arrives to mourn the death of a relationship that has never been consummated.

Another one among my favorites is on a slightly more cheerful note. 'Grateful Ganges' is about an american who arrives in India to immerse her husband's ashes. Her stay in a Punjabi household is remarkable and filled with remarkable moments. But the author cleverly saves the best for the last. The climax which has her reuniting with her soul-mate is a moment beautifully etched in ink.

'The accountant' on the other hand is one strange yet exceptional story. The transgression into the past life of a boring middle aged accountant is clearly a refreshingly new plot. Though I wished the ending to have been different, this remains among my choice picks.

'Tiger! Tiger!' and 'Snakecharmer' are the other two stories that had me hooked till the end. Though very different from each other, both deal with death. And the void that is created when a loved one leaves the mortal world.

Unfortunately, the remaining stories ( 7 of them to be precise ) were just plain average if not extremely boring ( I did not finish 2 of them) . But that is purely my opinion. Some folks may enjoy the lang drawn philosophical bits in these stories even if I found it tough to relate to these bits.

Still, I would recommend this book to folks who enjoy short stories ( and the sheer freedom that short reading sessions provide ) !!

1 comment:

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