THEME: 3.5/5 STORIES: 3/5 WRITING STYLE: 3/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 3/5
I love reading short stories. They are my go-to solution to come out of a reading slump. But this year, it so happened that I have not read a lot of short stories. I remember reading Juggernaut’s Love in the Times of Whatsapp and Other Stories but that was almost two months ago.
So, it was with great excitement and anticipation that I picked up Charu Vashishtha’s The Lady in the Mirror, a collection of short stories that are about discovering one’s true self. Read on to know more about my thoughts on the book and how was my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
Expect a book that is written in an easy language. Expect a book that is a collection of simple yet meaningful short stories. Expect a book that is a short and quick read which runs a little over one hundred pages. Expect a book that talks about life and its true meaning.
Who can read?
Owing to the easy to understand language and the simplicity of the content, the book is best suited for a beginner level reader.
The central theme
The central theme of the book is a rather subtle one. Though the story talks about different people, different times and different scenarios, the invisible thread that binds them together is that of self-discovery. Look deeper and you will find that all the stories are about discovering one’s true self and finding peace and acceptance in face of that discovery.
What did I like?
The introduction section of the book is particularly interesting. I simply love the way the author has dedicated this book not just to the reader but also to herself. Those four lines that the author writes about herself are so simple yet profound. The preface is short and crisp and aptly acquaints the reader with what is to be expected.
My personal favourites
The Last Confession is the story of how a man’s ignorance of his wife’s true feelings and his inability to express love leads to an unfulfilled marriage. It is a story that is profound and the message that it conveys is urgent and strong.
The Manifestations of God is a story that tells us just how dangerous our mind can be if don’t reign in our desires. It is a story of love and devotion and at the same time of greed and desire.
Another story that touched my heart is Life Goes in a Circle. This particular story seemed a little autobiographical (at least that’s what my hunch says) and even though it ignores conventional storytelling, what makes it special is the honesty with which it is written.
The writing style
The writing style is simple and unlike many debut authors, it isn’t messy. I like the way the author is very clear about where she intends the story to be. This clarity of thought is commendable.
Where I find the writing to be lacking is in terms of plot development and climax. The stories don’t rely on conventional storytelling techniques but that can be excused if the writing is extraordinary.
However, in the case of The Lady in the Mirror, the stories don’t compensate for the lack of a good plotline and solid climax. At many levels, they fail to establish that connection with the reader which is so important for a short story collection.
What could have been better?
The book does not come without a couple of editing errors and grammatical mistakes. Needless to state, these do pull down the reading experience and the overall quality of the content.
It all boils down to the entertainment quotient
The book is fairly entertaining. The stories are easy to read and since they all are so different in their scope and storyline; the collection is a diverse one. Some of the stories are soulful and they manage to leave a lasting impression on the reader.
In the end
In the end, The Lady in the Mirror isn’t a bad book for a debut author. The tales it speaks of are simple yet meaningful but there is a lot of scope for improvement especially in terms of plot development.
The final verdict
Can be read.
Pick it up if
- You are a beginner level reader.
- You are looking for a short story collection that is quick and easy to read.
- You are looking for simple stories that talk about life and its meaning.
- You are looking for a short read (of 100 pages or so).
Skip it if
- You don’t like short stories.
- You are looking for a serious read.
- You are a voracious reader.
- You don’t like amateurish writing.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Lady in the Mirror using the link below.