Title: The Blue Women
Author: Anukriti Upadhyay
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Price: Rs 399
Link For Purchase: The Blue Women
The stories in this book are written in sleek, pleasing and powerful language. There are twelve stories in all, and they take the reader on an intense and emotional roller coaster ride. The endings in some stories have to be discerned carefully so as to understand the import of the tale. Though the endings in many stories throw a surprise, the author mainly aims at leaving an emotional impact on the reader’s mind using the tale in a wholesome manner. The characters in these stories leave a sharp incisive impression on the psyche of the reader. The stories I liked best are Insecta, Made in Heaven and Sona. The story titled The Blue Women is really good, but I would have named the book after one of the other stories. But that is again my opinion.
The author has chosen very innovative themes to base her stories on. Many of the themes are extremely bold like Sona in which a young girl is obsessed with her stepfather. This story was one of my favourites. Another tale I enjoyed a lot was the one about a young girl’s tryst with a bat. I liked the way she referred to a huge bat as ‘Bat King’ and spoke to it. I found this quaint and amusing. The theme in this story is very powerful.
Insecta has a brilliant ending, and its emotional impact is also very high. I liked the way in which the author has experimented with several POVs (Points of View) for presentation. Some stories are written in the third person POV while others like Sona are written in the first person POV. The author has experimented with the style of presentation also. Many stories start with the here and now point in time, and then catch up later after a flashback. This shows the depth of the author’s writing skills.
Some of the stories are narrated by the protagonist to another person and the author manages to make these stories very interesting too. All the stories have a powerful ending for example the story titled Mauna has an ending that reflects a certain cultural and religious ritual found in India. Made in Heaven deals with Male Chauvinism and the habit of husbands taking their wives for granted. I loved the way the story ended.
Shawarma deals figuratively with the fear of death. The Big Toe is very profound and underlines an important fact of life, that pain, however much we may pretend otherwise, is something we must carry as baggage throughout our lives. This story is presented as a conversation between two men in a restaurant. The last story The Satsuma Plant highlights a social issue and deals with the difficulties faced by people subject to societal taboos.
This book is meant for people who like reading emotionally intense stories. I did not find any story that has a completely light theme. As I read the tales, I was hoping that I would be given an opportunity to laugh aloud at some point which could act as an emotional release. I do admit there were several places in the book where I smiled. I am probably nit-picking and that kind of emotional release was not intended to be present by the author at any stage.
A big yay! This is an absorbing and powerful book. The stories will definitely keep you hooked with their powerful themes and sleek language. Do pick it up.
I am going with a 4.5/5 for Anukriti Upadhyay’s book The Blue Women. It is definitely worth a read.
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