Thursday, December 28, 2017

Review of Roshani Sinha's Snippets

Snippets: Short StoriesSnippets: Short Stories by Roshani Gash Sinha
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Note: The author of this book, Roshani Sinha, is a friend, and I had read a few of the stories from Snippets prior to its publication.

Snippets is an apt title for this wonderful collection of ten short stories, for they are just that - snippets from various lives at different stages of relationships. These are not stories with a conventional plot and a three-act structure. Snippets is more an exploration of emotions of the characters.  Creativity and relationships seem to be the common motifs among most of the stories.

Ten Puffs portrays a man reminiscing his past, his present and his future. Free Falling delves into the mind of a psychologist who is attracted to broken men. This is one of the best-written stories of the collection. Grains of Sand is about the cathartic experience of being involved in a creative pursuit and portrays a snapshot of an artist's life. The Metier is again set in the art scene. It is a sort of a coming-of-age story where a young girl (a student of psychology, once again) finds her calling.

Test of Time portrays a long-lasting relationship and explores why such relationships work. Reminders and Suitcase deal with coming to terms with loss in different settings. My favorite story out of the series is probably Modus Vivendi, which explores, among other things, jealousy. Modus Vivendi is about the compromises one is ready to make to be viewed as a success by the society. The protagonist’s remark “my self-righteousness principles and ideas seemed laughable to the world I lived in today, but it felt right to me” resonates with me deeply. Foreclosure and Dreamcatchers both add some variety to the collection. The former is rendered from the point of view of a child (“I am eight years old, but I know and understand more than they think I do”). Dreamcatchers, on the other hand, leaps into the realm of fantasy on the lines of a Haruki Murakami plot.

Many of the protagonists of the Snippets are writers and artists. Roshani uses her great vocabulary to describe the physicality of her settings. The geographies and the timeframe are not specifically mentioned in any of the stories. While this makes them seem not rooted in a specific place or time, it also frees the narratives from temporal and geographical constraints. There were a couple of typos in the publication, but for a self-published work, the book looks professional by large and has some great artwork.

The characters in Roshani's Snippets are all very decent people, with flaws but without evil intentions. Their concerns are not struggles of life and death. This may seem monotonous at times, but we could all do with the occasional positivity. For a first-time writer’s work, Snippets has a lot of great things. I look forward to reading more of Roshani’s works.
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