AUTHOR: Janki Nagaraj
GENRE: Fiction (Anthology of short stories of various genre)
ASIN : B074G4W2TD
BLURB (on Goodreads)
“I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could” – Georgia O’Keeffe.
A serial killer on the loose who chooses a particular day of the month to kill his victims; a strained father – son relationship, when the father returns home after being presumed dead; a girl who can go to any extent for her career and money; a woman openly acknowledging the presence of the many ‘other women’ in her life; a lady’s dark past finally catches up with her… Life is an ongoing sequence of events meshed with everyday mundaneness so that it becomes difficult to isolate them.
‘Fragments’ captures the essence of those parts of our lives that we are not proud to show to others. It takes you through a range of emotions and leaves a big question mark on what is supposed to be.
A motley collection of short stories that bring out the various facets of life and human emotions, ‘Fragments’ touches hearts and tickles the brain. Each story is a surprise and showcases the creative side of the storyteller beautifully.
While ‘The Ritual’ defied the ‘sleuth’ in me and caught me unawares by its unpredictable climax, ‘The Homecoming’ captured the agony of the disfigured soldier, father to a son who hates his very sight, well. One can’t help but empathize with both father and son given that both of them are suffering the only difference being that while the father suffers on account of being the cause of the son’s agony and depression, the son suffers because of pent up emotions and misplaced hatred.
‘Close Call’ was a bit of a disappointment I must admit, but then the next one ‘The Last Laugh’ compensated for it. The title sure misled me till the last few lines. But then what is the use of building up a suspense if you can’t hold it till the end.
‘Naked’ left not only Ravi the character speechless but left me too. I’d never ever have thought of such a brilliant ending to a story that could either have a vulgar ending or a violent one. Hats off to the author for cooking up something like this – khatta- meetha.
‘If you can’t understand my silence….’sent shivers down my spine. The story is a reality check. It reminds us how vulnerable the young one is if not mentored on time regarding the harsh realities of the outside world. My heart went out to little Sharat.
‘The Escape to Hell’ too did not work for me but then the author adequately compensated for the disappointment with her next story i.e. ‘Stree’ where the plight of women is put forth effectively in just three hundred fifty plus words.
‘Quid Pro Quo’ and ‘The Other Women In My Life’ impart some life lessons. While the former emphasizes the saying ‘money can’t buy everything’ the latter gives us a valuable lesson on happiness. Via ‘Quid Pro Quo’ we also get an insight into how empathy and assistance come from unexpected quarters. It also imparts a valuable lesson in Karma.
‘What Goes Around…’ left me angry with the protagonist Simran. I’ve always believed that our sufferings make us better human beings, they nudge us to act when we see someone in a dire situation more so when we have gone through a something similar. But Simran left me wondering if I’ve been dreaming so.
‘I Don’t Want To Be An Adult’ struck a chord within me and I couldn’t help but feel strongly for ‘Jing band Aunty’ aka Parimala. Loneliness I must admit, is unnerving at times and more so when age catches up. But to beat it one must dig into the self and draw out that which makes us happy and keeps us young in spirit. The story reveals the secret of Parimala’s ‘youth,’ one that is looked down upon as eccentricity by society but which if pondered on deeply, is anything but that.
‘Sexy Body, Big Boobs’ is a bitter truth. It is a pill that scalds the throat and leaves the stomach burning leading to an ulcer that slowly but steadily becomes cancerous.
Language is simple, crisp and lucid and the style of narration is perfect. My only grudge is:
1) The number of stories is few.
2) The ending of some stories felt abrupt and rough. I would have loved to see them neatly filed and shaped even if it meant adding a few more pages.
A short read packed with myriad shades of life that encase various emotions like love, lust, greed, deceit, treachery, revenge, depression, etc., ‘Fragments’ will leave one wanting for more. I’ll give it a 3 on a scale of 5.