Nothing’s so dainty sweet as the lovely Melancholy, these words of ‘Francis Beaumont’ kept ringing in my ears as I read the stories from the book ‘Panorama’ by Shilpi Chaklanobis. This anthology of fifteen short stories is like a string of pearls-precious, delicate and priceless, and below is the review of the same.
Book Review of Panorama
Read through the blurb to have a dekko into this potpourri:
A turbulent relationship between a mother and a daughter takes a sudden turn when the daughter stumbles across a past that she never knew.
The golden period of a professor’s life is tainted by questions about his purpose until one night gives him all the answers he needs. Desperate times test us all but when hunger drives a girl to do the unthinkable, her life changes forever.
Woven around the lives of the people around us – the shy girl on the metro, your domestic help, your neighbors and perhaps even you – this collection of short stories will take you on a bittersweet journey that explores the spectrum that is part of any human relationship and all the complexity and chaos that secretly dwell within the homes and hearts of India.
Often laced with an element of introspection, the stories are sure to change the way you see the world around you…
Characterisation and Language
The narration is mostly in the first person and the simple language used renders authenticity to this collection of pragmatic tales. If the first story talks about the ordeals of a single mother who works as house-help to make her ends meet, the second one narrates the story of unconditional love, and the third talks about a ruthless mother who is a politician! Thus we see, that this book is an amalgamation of myriad shades of people as well as Nature to which a reader will be able to connect and relate. There are no larger than life characters and the characterization is done according to the situations and storyline. The readers will be able to identify with many of the characters Owing to the déjà vu feeling upon reading the book as each story is a slice of the everyday situation and life.
Story and Theme
The book starts with a sweet, heart-touching story of ‘Wok’, traverses through different shades of human emotions, and culminates with the story of ‘The Sealed Wish’.With each story, a reader is bound to be taken on a turbulent yet satisfying and poignant journey. One cannot miss the influence of O.Henry, Premchand, or a Gulzar in each of these pearls!
Stories like ‘Wok’, ‘The Second Tsunami’, ‘The Wait’ give a jolt to the readers with their unexpected climax. They are sure to burst the bubble of ‘All is well’ in this world by giving a slice of the ruthless calamity called ‘Poverty’. If ‘Wok’, ‘Mirage’, ‘Bribe’ emphasizes on human relationships and mother’s love, then, another pearl -‘ The Example’ talks about the most underrated and thankless profession of a ‘Teacher’. Coincidentally, I read the story ‘The Example’ on Teachers’ Day!!!
Bitter Sweet Ponderings
Though the book is aptly titled ‘Panorama’ giving an overall view of the varied human shades and emotions, the book cover does not do justice to the stories nor is it intriguing and interesting enough to pick up this book ! Also, I wished the book was error-free and was facilitated with a better editing job. But the brighter spots of the book are the touching stories filled with irony and melancholy, narrated in a believable way.
My Final Take
‘Irony’ is the flavour of the best of the lot that keeps the readers engaged and “melancholy’ is a constant in almost all of the stories. Yes, I did want some of the stories to shed their gloomy disposition and fill the pages with happiness but then I realised that the writer has consciously reflected on the stark realities of life, the ironic situations without much candy floss and overtly flowery situations, thus being very pragmatic. It’s like -one cannot imagine any other ending for O.Henry’s ‘The Last Leaf” how much ever one wants the climax to be different, isn’t it?
In conclusion, I would like to applaud Shilpi for a wonderful potpourri of stories – so real and so believably presented in her very first attempt! Shilpi, I am eagerly waiting to read your next offering 🙂
Do grab a copy of this book to get in touch with the stark realities of ‘Life’.
I give this book a rating of 4 / 5!
Author: Shilpi Chaklanobis
Publishers: Notion Press
This book has been reviewed on a request by the author and a copy was sent in exchange for my honest and unbiased review