21 June, 2014

#BookReview :: Transactions of Belongings by Jaya Padmanabham

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. 

I have to admit that I picked up this book based solely on its title. ‘Transactions of Belonging’ sounded a bit ominous and it genuinely made me curious about this anthology of short stories by a single author. 

This anthology contains twelve astonishingly daring and beautiful short stories that delve into human emotions thoroughly. From a mother daughter relationship to the life of an lonely old man to a mother anguishing over whether her son is a terrorist to a girl ending up as sex worker in her life to the connection between drinking and abuse to children becoming too independent of their parents. Name an emotion that real people feel in their lives that hasn’t been deeply explored already and it is there in this book.

Each story has its grip on the reader and I can’t, for the life of me, decide which story I like the best. Individually, each story has something unique to offer and as a whole this anthology is a bomb waiting to go off as readers turn its pages. It took me only a couple of hours to finish reading this book and I wished that there were more pages to be turned. I applaud the author for choosing to write such emotional short stories that tug at the right heartstrings. An amazing debut and I hope to read more meaningful work from this author soon.

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