Book title – Love – an anthology

Genre – drama, romance

Publisher – The hive publications    Pages – 243    Language – English

Author – an anthology by 20 writers

Price – ₹ 0/- for the Kindle unlimited, ₹ 199/- for the kindle edition and ₹ 249/- for the paperback

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The dictionary defines love as ‘an intense feeling of deep affection’. Yet, love stories are considered clichéd. The romantics amongst us love them and but, there are others, those with a more pragmatic approach who wouldn’t touch a book on ‘love’ with a ten-foot pole. They think such books are for silly people with flighty imaginations. When we see a book titled ‘love’ our mind automatically tends to think – ugh! – Soppy, cheesy, girl-boy stuff or a lustful, steamy romance. C’mon admit it; you did think that, didn’t you?

But, the definition of ‘love’ in itself does not say that the word only refers to such stuff, does it?

Deep affection can be held for anyone in our life. A husband and wife who bicker constantly in their four-decade-old marriage and yet manage to understand and support each other – is that not love? A person who feels deeply for another and yet cannot express – is that not love? The little things we do for someone that we care for- is that not love? Love is all of the former and much, much more than just infatuation or lust.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the facets of love that the book ‘Love’ explores. I had expected a book titled so and released on Valentine’s Day to contain cheesy, M&B kind of stories only. But, they turned out to be stories of warm human relationships. Mostly dramatic in genre, these stories are supplicated with flashes of other genres too and amass within them the emotions of first love, comfortable love, mature love, rebellious love, lost love, betrayal in love, fantasies, etc.

The book contains 20 stories and the truly commendable thing is the narrative voice in the stories. When you take 20 random writers then between them they are bound to come up with stories that reflect their unique writing styles. However, this book did not feel like an anthology. Yes, the writing style in each story is different but, the noteworthy thing here is the editing which places the stories sequentially, so that the genres mesh well together and the emotional quotient of one story, dribbles over into the next, seamlessly. Each story in the book carries a unique flavour but, I would be remiss if I did not mention 3 here that truly touched me. Now, the fact that I mention just 3 here is in no way an indication that I did not like the other stories. I loved all of them. But, I connected better with these 3.

  1. Padmini by Priya Bajpai – I found the language beautiful, and the setting and plotline apt. I loved the juxtaposition of history and love in this story. Priya’s words were able to place me at the scene (And I admit, I carry a very critical viewpoint about descriptions and settings in stories).
  2. Hand in hand, into the sunset by Narayani Manadapam – A simple story and yet narrated with a strong voice that was in command of what was to be presented. Simple emotions presented with a masterful hand. This story reminded me of R K Narayan’s works particularly ‘The horse and two goats’.
  3. Love, virtually by Rashmi Raj – This story is so brilliantly narrated that even though the narration shifts between dialogues and details very often, the reader does not feel the shift. This story was like watching a reel play out. It was that visual and evocative for me.

Somehow as I read through this book, I was reminded of the jaltarang. Each individual glass of water has a distinct sound and yet, together put all the glasses create a melodious resonance.

So, do I recommend this book – yes, I absolutely do! However, if you do pick it up, do not read through it in one sitting. You have to let a story sink in and coat you in its mellow emotion. You have to let the lingering effects of love percolate before you advance to the next story and brew yourself a fresh cup. This book is about steeping your thoughts, letting them percolate to give you happiness.

About Sonal Singh

I believe that life is a repertoire of anecdotes. The various situations that we encounter, the many incidents of every day, the people we meet, our conversations with them; all make life a melange of tales. And, that is what I attempt to capture through my writing. My cooking is no different! It reflects my love for travel and my love for innovation. The kitchen is my happy place. So, even though by vocation I am a recruiter (, by passion I am a writer, home chef and a hodophile.

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