WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
I am an ardent lover of short stories. A good collection of stories is sometimes everything that you need between complicated and complex novels that demand too much of an effort. Short stories also work great in cases of reading slumps.
Sometimes I am lucky to receive a good collection as it happened when Nair Told and Untold was sent to me for review by the author. Other times, I just indulge in the good old magic of a Ruskin Bond collection. He is one author who always manages to calm my heart and soothe my chaotic mind.
What is the book all about?
Mumblings from the Depth is a collection of 21 short stories each accompanied by a succinctly apt piece of prose. The book is just under 100 pages with most of the stories ranging from 2 to 4 pages each.
Font, readability and general quality
At the first glance, it is the cover of the book that catches your fancy. It is beautifully designed and looks promising, easily enticing the reader to pick the book up. The overall quality of the book including the paper quality, the font size, readability and designing are all pretty good too. Given my experience with Notion Press Publishers, I always know that any book by them is always going to be of excellent paper quality.
The theme of the book
Unlike most other collections that I read, Mumblings from the Depth doesn’t stick to a particular theme. This is a good thing because, at the end of every story, the reader is always left guessing about the next story. I love the way the author explores various sentiments, cultures, timelines etc through his stories. From the Nazi Germany of the 1940s to Iraq under Saddam Hussain, from the streets of America to the jogging parks of India, this book is bound to take you on a fictional mini-tour.
The author’s writing style
Jithu Biji Thomas’s writing is pretty simple. He makes use of an easy language. He writes to create an impact with his storytelling abilities rather than relying on the usage of fancy words. In most of his stories, I find an uncanny ability to easily understand what others are feeling, to guess their insecurities and, even more, to articulate their pain.
I also enjoyed the way the author has penned stories on the most mundane of elements. His ability to weave stories around the most commonplace of things like a newspaper article, a pair of shoes, a children’s comic book, a jogger’s park, a neglected garden etc. is simply brilliant.
Another thing worth mentioning is the prose that precedes every story. The lines, usually numbered between four to six, very aptly highlight the core of each story. Along with the stories, the prose too was a treat to read.
What could have been better?
The only thing that strikes me when I think about suggestions is poor editing. Mumblings from the Depth isn’t properly edited. In addition to several grammatical errors, the language needs little polishing as well.
My personal favourites
My favourite story in the lot is the one titled Hatikvah (Hope). The story is about a Nazi police officer who has power and yet feels hopeless, and a young girl of ten who is helpless against all the atrocities that are being committed against her and still has Hatikvah (hope). This subtle yet significant irony in their circumstances is what made this story my favourite.
Another story that won my heart was The Constant Companion. The story is again about hope and endeavour. It is an inspirational tale of a nobody that aims to aspire everybody to become a somebody.
Is the book entertaining?
The book is a sweet little treat to any reader who wants to break the monotony of lengthy novels or tiring non-fictions. It is entertaining and at the same time thought-provoking. Sometimes it will make you revisit events in history like you would have never imagined, whereas, other times it will make you think about trivial matters from an entirely new angle.
Pick it up if
Pick the book if you enjoy short stories especially those which encourage reflecting and pondering.
Skip the book if
Skip the book if you cannot stand editing mistakes or if you don’t really like short stories.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Mumblings from the Depth using the link below.