WRITING STYLE: 4/5
“I could see the Universe in its entirety laid bare above me, for me. I silently thanked the Gods for their generosity, for having given me this haven. I counted stars, gathered them in my palms, and sprinkled them back into the sky, I listened to the soft rush of the water lapping against the surface of the boat – a sound that seemed to grow louder by the second. Amidst all this, I began to enjoy my insanity even as I resented the scrap of sanity that I retained.”
-Sonali Dabade, Nonet
In the last couple of years, I have had the opportunity to read some amazing short story collections. From Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar to Perumal Murugan, from Khaled Hosseini to Ruskin Bond, the list is never-ending. A recent addition to this bandwagon occurred when I had the opportunity to read my fellow bookstagrammar, booktuber, and book critic, Sonali Dabade’s latest short story collection – Nonet.
Nonet, the name itself has a certain glamour, luring the reader towards the many mysteries that it has to offer. The gorgeous cover also adds to its many charms. Read on to know more about my thoughts on the book and about my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
Nonet is a collection of 9 short stories each of which has something unique to offer. Expect a short read. Expect a book that dabbles in a wide variety of genres – romance, horror, drama, political fiction, dystopia, action thriller, and tragedy. Expect a book with lyrical writing and beautiful words. Finally, expect a book that will have you marveling at its expressive and emotional narrative.
An avid reader of intros, prefaces, and forewords, it was amusing for me to read the dedication at the beginning of the book. The author begins the book with the shortest, cutest, and sweetest dedication ever. After all, what better anniversary gift to give your best friend and husband than a beautifully written collection of short stories.
While all the stories have an extraordinary appeal, a few managed to stir something deep inside of me and found a place of permanence in my heart.
Zero, is a tear-inducing story of a soldier who realizes a little too late that everything that he ever held dear in life has forever slipped out of his hands. While he battles an overwhelming guilt, his entire core is shocked to learn a debilitating truth. The story is intensely emotional and impactful, woven with beautiful words and spruced with a carefully crafted mysterious undertone.
Dine and Dash takes a relatable take at modern marriages. Talking about a relationship that has seemingly lost its upper sheen but not its deeply rooted love, it is a lesson for all couples to indulge in a bit of spontaneity, every now and then. Delicately woven into the words are feelings and emotions that are quite easy to understand but very difficult to capture.
Fight for Me is the story of two people who are both victims of fate. It beautifully captures the exhilarating joy of finding love and hope after losing everything in life.
What did I like?
What particularly makes this book interesting is that none of the stories carry a similar theme. Unlike most collections that almost always have a central theme or genre, Sonali’s Nonet is a potpourri of heterogeneity. Every story is different, incongruous with the rest, and yet they all come together beautifully like an exquisite bouquet of wildflowers.
From horror to romance, from dystopia to revenge, from tragic to dreamy, each story is different, and they each invoke a unique feeling in mind. To be able to write across genres, and that too with such finesse, is nothing short of a miracle, and for that, the author deserves many congratulations.
How to go about it? and a short warning!
These stories are not your regular ‘read it in a day’ sort. They require time to read and even more time to reflect. To make the best of the experience, read them slowly, one at a time. But let me warn you here, once you are done reading them, they might stay with you forever.
What could have been better?
In some of the stories, the narration and descriptions overpower the story itself, reducing the overall pace. Even though the words are beautiful – each line written with meticulous deliverance – the final effect renders a gentle blow to an otherwise near-perfect tempo.
It all comes down to the entertainment
Sometimes it’s the carefully thought storyline, sometimes the nuanced characters, sometimes the layers of mystery, but mostly, it is the words and the magic that they deliver that makes this book a worthwhile and entertaining read.
In the end
In the end, Nonet is a collection of short stories that one ought to pick for its mesmerizing and lyrical writing and beautiful words. It is a collection one must read to experience varied emotions in a span of just a handful of stories.
The final verdict
Go for it!
Pick the book if
- You enjoy short stories.
- You are a fan of beautiful words.
- You are looking for a unique bunch of stories.
- You enjoy writing that is expressive and lyrical.
- You are looking for new authors to explore.
Skip the book if
- You are a beginner level reader.
- Plot and pace are more important to you than beautiful writing.
- Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Nonet using the link below.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of “Fifteen Minutes Fifteen Seconds” using the link below.