Short story writing is a tricky genre, something where even the most accomplished writers falter at times. Tejaswini Apte – Rahm’s novel “These Circuses that Sweep Through the Landscapes” is one such collection of 10 short stories which explores various human tendencies, some real while some unbelievable.
It is not possible to actually depict the plot of ten short stories. However, I’ll try summarizing each plot within a line or two, and also what I felt about each story.
11. HOMO COLEOPTERA tells us the story of a man whose passion in life is to collect beetles and win contests. Mr Ghosh’s story is definitely told and written well. The detailing is very good. I personally liked it. Also, this story sets the spooky tone which continues throughout the book.
22. THANK GOD FOR STAR TREK tells a story of a little girl whose childhood is anything but colorful. Not that it is bad, but I felt the overall tone of the story too dull, morose and dark. Also, “Star Trek” isn’t something with which too many Indian children would relate to.
33. THE MALL is perhaps the most detailed story out of all the 10 plots. It tells the story of a lady who visits a newly opened mall but is unable to find the exiting, remaining inside for a long long time.
What starts off as a really promising plot soon falters due to the excessive detailing. The description of the mall gets too tedious at times. And hence, when the lady finally exits, both she and the reader heave a sigh of relief.
44. THE GIRL WHO LOVED DEAN MARTIN is another story which failed to connect. Once again, the plot is good, but somehow a bit alien for the Indian readers.
5. COTTON starts off well. The story of how a lady keeps on seeing cotton everywhere in her house is really novel. The story keeps you hooked. However, the end is disappointing, even a bit repulsive to some extent.
66. THE HOUSE ON THE HILL appears as a ray of hope. The story of a little girl who is a servant at a rich mansion and her experiences at a grand party is lovely. By the end, you are left with a smile on your face.
77. DRINKS AT SEVEN tells the story of 4 friends (2 couples) who meet for drinks and what happens then. The tension the author builds throughout the plot is commendable. The ending is a bit abrupt, but overall a fairly good and entertaining story.
88. SANDALWOOD is a brilliant tale of a female coming to terms with her eviction from the lives of her husband and kids. Everything about the plot clicks, especially the end.
99. MILI has to be the best story of the lot. A tale of two old lovers who meet after many years, the author weaves magic with the chemistry between the two.
110. THESE CIRCUSES THAT SWEEP THROUGH THE LANDSCAPE is a story of a teacher who has lost his mind to senility and one of his students who well, isn’t in his right mind either. Once again, the author keeps you glued to the pages as she alternatively shifts the story telling point of view. The climax is brilliant.
WRITING & POSITIVES
Full marks to Tejaswini’s writing skills. She is excellent. Her eye for detailing is the USP of the book. It shows how minutely she observes life and its various aspects. As I said, writing short stories is a tricky genre, but she manages well.
As mentioned earlier, I found few stories lacking the necessary connection. Apart from that, I don’t really have too many issues. I would definitely have liked it more had few of the plots been real rather that supernatural and fictional.
OVERALL, this collection of short stories is a mixed bag of sorts. The first five stories are okayish. There was a time when I was seriously considering whether or not to continue reading. However, I am glad I continued because the other 5 stories changed my opinion. They were really brilliant.
This one is a decent one time read for people who love reading short stories and those who anticipate something unexpected in plots.
P.S - I received this book from WRITERSMELON in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.