Edited by: Ankit Mittal. Grade B+
With my growing interest in short stories, I was excited before diving into the attempts in the genre by our young Indian writers. I believe that writing short stories is the pinnacle of creativity. In a novella you’d have about sixty thousand words to express your thoughts, give life to your characters and make them live that life. But in a short story, you’ve to do everything within merely four thousand words. I applaud all the writers who contributed for this anthology by Grapevine Publishers.
Grapevine is certainly capable of making attractive covers. This one is beautiful, but not as much as that of Circle of Three, their last one.
Love’s shades are myriad and moving . . .
Who first said ‘Love is a many-splendoured thing’, is a difficult matter to trace but movies, plays, poems and songs have claimed the phrase greedily over the years. Love is the most complex, perplexing phenomenon one can ever encounter, spanning the most insipid to darkest emotions known to Man. Definitions, meaning, interpretations and perspectives vary from dictionary to dictionary and from person to person. If one sits down to compile all the interpretations, the length of the compilation would surpass the length of the guide to understanding women and men and what happens between them. Perhaps this is what is meant by the many-splendoured shades of love.
Shades of Love, Grapevine India’s first anthology, comprises of twenty five short stories, written by some of the biggest best sellers and many debutante writers. However, each story is a different shade. From the innocent to the macabre, the mundane to the supernatural, from the soulful to the psychotic, each tale seeks to spur the reader on a journey from shade to shade.
- Naman Kapur
- Aarush Deora
- P.G. Rao
- Aastha Atray Banan
- Pallavi Tiwari
- Akanksha Bhatia
- Pernasi Malhotra
- Anvita Budhraja
- Pooja Wanpal
- Ashish Dommety
- Pujita Krishna Jyoti
- Avneet Singh
- Rohit Gore
- Durjoy Datta
- Sachin Garg
- Junaid A. Tagala
- Shubham Choudhary
- Jyoti Mittal
- Shwetha Ganesh Kumar
- Manisha Bhandari
- Sreeju Sudhakaran
- Monika Pant
- Tushar Rai
- Vivek Banerjee
- Nikita Singh
The collection has a total of twenty five stories written by different authors of different age groups and professions. The stories might be good or bad, but one is for sure that every single writer has wonderful writing skills. All the stories are very, very well written.
Here you have gist of them all.
- Conscience Woes: A nice plot revolving around betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness. Although faintly explicit, but interesting.
- Of Flowers and Bangles: A well written, lucid but slightly lousy plot based on supernatural love. Might make you yawn a couple of times.
- Breakfast at Vishranti: A tale dipped in sugar syrup about the love between two people of different age and origin. Although predictable, it was certainly one of the best stories of the anthology. The pediatrician can gloat about his writing skills.
- The Early Bird and the Milkman: A coherent account of teenage love. There’s nothing of a mystery to the story but has a reasoned flow to it.
- A Pop Tart’ Psychotic Love Story: A truly psychotic one. Written by a journo, this story is enough to make your stomach lurch with disgust. The story has great descriptions.
- He Was There: Another story of the supernatural. Could have been more interesting and less predictable had the author tried.
- Audi and the Apocalypse: The best story of the anthology. Exquisitely written and a totally gripping yarn of two school goers. Aarush Deora is our most promising writer.
- A Hero Greater Than Shahrukh Khan: Rohit Gore mesmerizes us once more by spinning a heart wrenching tale of a family stuck in Mumbai’s flooded roads of 2005. If you have a heart, you’d shed a tear or two.
- Second Homecoming: This was a little similar to the one that we had already read earlier but with an interesting message to give the readers. Extraordinarily written.
- A Little Each Day: This was a story about learning to love again. It certainly had the scope of being better. The ending was a really perfect one.
- Crimson Puzzle: A beautiful and unique tale of its kind, set in Chennai. The writer has a bright future in the writing world. Kudos!
- Unconditionally Yours: Elegantly written, Nikita Singh gives us a story of marriage and second thoughts, but is a bit too fast paced.
- The Remedy: The only story that I read twice. Sachin Garg deserves laurels for this one. One of the most interesting stories of the anthology.
- She called it, Kikugasane: One of the biggest tortures of the book. With loads of philosophy and unnecessary backtracks, I found my head aching.
- The Light on the Twentieth Floor: A beautiful, short and crispy tale. But, a little predictable. Nicely written, though.
- The English Teacher: One of the most unrealistic stories of the book. With a mad protagonist in the story, Durjoy Datta cannot get rid of his sex ridden and wild characters. With a beautiful name, the story is a disappointment.
- If Only Things Were: A story of half betrayal and half falling in and out of love, this one has been unnecessarily stretched. This was a story that could have easily been finished up in fifteen hundred words.
- The Bookmark: A short and gripping tale of being too late for love. The one I could relate to the most. Beautiful!
- A Bird in Flight: Written with discreet finesse, this story has no great twists. But, a good read, no doubt.
- An Officer and a Gentleman: A sophisticatedly written story of two neighbors. Being too wordy, this story couldn’t impress me much.
- Dear Beloved: The intended epistolary story could not spawn a magic as it should have. Indeed, a very dry read.
- Junction: A coherent and crispy tale of a lost love and its encounter again. With no great twists, this is a finely written piece.
- Stolen: Though filled with lust, this is a very impressive piece written in first person’s voice. A thoroughly gripping and interesting read.
- Weeks With you: Written with great finesse, but this story lacks something important- the plot. Almost without a plot, this story is filled with lust right from the beginning. Not something to look forward to.
There’s one big thing that I realized after reading the book- death, and most importantly Leukemia, has become one of the greatest cliché in Romance writing. Thanks to Nicholas Sparks! In almost every story, someone would die or was already dead. When starting a new story, I secretly hoped that I shouldn’t encounter a corpse or a ghost.
Now, talking of the editing, I’d say the book is very badly edited. On the first page itself, I could see grammatical and punctuation errors. The book has uncountable editing glitches throughout. A few stories down, you can easily make out that the editor is an amateur, or not interested. The paper quality, too, is terrible. The pages are almost grey, and look recycled.
But overall, this piece is worth your money. If you have some time constrains or are in a mood to read in little amounts, this one is for you.