WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
Reading short stories is definitely not the same as reading a full-fledged novel.
In a novel, the author has the time to build the characters and the plot while the reader gets to peel off the layers one by one in anticipation of what would happen next.
But a short story is more about instant gratification. There is not much scope for characters or an elaborate plot.
Does that mean it is easier to write short stories? Not at all. It is even more difficult to tell a story in a few pages than in an entire book.
I am more inclined towards novels as I like an in-depth storyline and really want to get to know the characters.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the occasional short stories, especially the ones written by Jeffrey Archer, while Sir Arthur Conan Doyle unleashed his detective in this format too.
So, when I started reading Scholastic’s Saleem on Earth and other stories, I was a bit sceptical about whether I would really enjoy the stories. And I have to say, the verdict is 50/50.
There were 8 stories in this collection of short stories and some were good while some were not so much.
First, the good part.
The idea behind this collection of short stories in Saleem on Earth and Other Stories was excellent. To base the stories around the different religions that are celebrated in this vast country of ours so that one can appreciate the unity in diversity that we enjoy was a very good thought.
My personal favourite was Subhadra Sengupta’s “A lamp for Ravana”, which illustrates how no one is perfect and that every being has some good and bad in them.
Adithi Rao’s “Sweets for Shankar” was particularly heart-touching while Samina Mishra’s “The goat who got away” was very enjoyable.
However, not all the stories could match up in terms of quality.
In “Diwali Count”, Devika Rangachari’s attempt to portray the wait for Diwali through the eyes of a child, while a good idea, did not come off that well and ended up being boring.
The same was the case with Kenny Deori Basumatary’s attempt at humour in “Inappropriate Christmas Behaviour”. The author tried to create a funny situation at a Christmas party but failed in bringing out the laughs from the reader or to even present the magic of Christmas.
The other stories are a good read and on the whole, one will not be disappointed with the collection of short stories in this anthology.
However, a bit more care should have been given while editing as there were a few errors, though small, still irritating to the reader.
But otherwise, you will enjoy sitting with Saleem on Earth and Other Stories and some of the stories will really warm your heart.