Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Dissent (Deepak Kaul)

A commissioned review -

An anthology is a strange thing. An anthology is stranger, if it follows no rule. An anthology, probably, is strangest when it does not even tie down its stories to a certain genre.

This anthology began with a scene off the history, and moved to a blood-soaked knife  in a Starbucks café. We never got to know what happened with Ila in the first, or to the knife in the second. Because, the book by then has moved on, and we are already at a higher level of fantasy, casting the very Big B in a very own film as the protagonist who is a film director with many flops and an interested Mr. Bachchan who still – for unfathomable reasons – walks up and asks for a script not once but twice all over. However, I liked the way the fourth story took up. The cue being one of high strung theatrical dialogue, a cut succeeding the scene brought the writer as well as the reader back to an assuring comfort where they could resume their normal tone and pace. I give it to the writer to have thought of it that way!

By the sixth story, we are once again back in a coffee shop, talking of minister’s messages that pronounce a sudden dawn. The seventh takes us into a cliché of a triangular affair, one that would’ve fallen common with another 8 of ten submissions with this cue if I were to take a guess. I wish the writer played it better than that. And the seventh looked like its previous in both tone and theme. At around this point, I believe it will be fair to say that the writer had found his ground and was playing the game in the comfort of the known albeit at cost of repetition. And this, hold on, also continues over to the next story and then the next.  The Love Jihad was a final note of relief as the story took a bounded secular turn by its very cue.

The Karma Agni in my order was the best pick in the series. The sentiments of army men deaths, however commonplace, never fails to bring in you a sense of weight that is both filled with compassion as well as gratitude. The final story also has its own bit of aesthetics as it narrates from frst person a sory of a girl who is yet to be thirteen and who loves the sea.

All in all, it is a fair attempt by someone who has played the game by its many rules and persevered through the process, and demonstrated how the journey of eleven stories over eleven months has improved the skills of the art.

I give it a 5 on a scale of 10. Good luck to writing!