WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
For me, this past one month has been about reading a lot of short stories but no matter how many short stories you read, you can never get bored of them. And that is the best thing about a short story. Define Thirty-Six twice of Eighteen is my third short story book in this last one month. The most intriguing part of this book is its name – DEFINE THIRTY-SIX TWICE OF EIGHTEEN. What is also intriguing is the pen name of its author – Shikashikz. Interesting!
I sat down to read this book with a mixed bunch of emotions. No matter how hard I try to avoid it, I am always a little sceptical of newbie authors. They are a scary bunch – sometimes they charm and stun you, while other times they make you want to put away reading for good. This book belonged to the first category, though. I was happy to have come across it and even happier to have got the opportunity to read it.
“Define Thirty-Six Twice of Eighteen” is a collection of 18 short stories; each unique in its flavour and appeal. Some are set in Metros, while some in suburban settings, and some even in countries like Italy, Germany and Spain. Another very unique thing about this book is the fact that it does not have any page numbers, now I cannot say if it is a good thing or a bad one, but for me, it simply didn’t matter.
I liked the way the author has explored various aspects of life. The major characters in most of the stories are all females; they are students, homemakers, officegoers, mothers, daughters. They fit in every role and in each role their story is highlighted beautifully. My personal favourites among these stories were – (1) Mask Man, the Kidnapper (2) Real vs Reel (3) Solitude’s Companion (4) That Train Journey and (5) Final Last Minute
“Mask Man, The Kidnapper” is about a family who is suffering from the consequences of having a bad father. A father whose misadventures have always brought misfortune and misery to his family. “Real vs Real” brings to the forefront, today’s false world of the social media. It attempts to emphasise on the fact that not all that glitters is gold and what is often seen on Facebook is not always true.
“Solitude’s Companion” is a very inspiring story of a young man who comes across a desolate boy. How he supports him and how he finds him in the first place is very different and fresh story to read. That Train Journey is about a young college girl’s misadventures in a ladies unreserved compartment while taking an eighteen-hour train journey. Final Last Minute is a beautiful monologue about a woman’s encounter with death.
Like I already stated, all stories are different and unique. The underlying theme in each of them is also distinctive. While one talks about solitude, the other talks about companionship, one refers to jealousy while the other is based on friendship, while one is about death, yet another is about ghosts. Read this book, and I am sure you will also find the different themes as amusing as I did.
My only issue with “Define Thirty-Six Twice of Eighteen” was poor editing. That did spoil the reading fun to some extent. Also, I was not happy with the way the book’s cover and the blurb was designed. It looks rather unappealing and the text on the blurb is in too big a font for my taste. That being said, I still recommend it to all lovers of short fiction and end this review by rating this book three and a half out of five stars.
Check out my YouTube Video Review of below.