On one hand, while one sees a consistently decimating quality of the majority of Indian writings when it comes to novels, but the case of short stories are a different story. After a hiatus during the ‘novel boom’ that ensued after the likes of Chetan Bhagat and Durjoy Datta- are in for a positive, upward surge.
“Betwixt Twists and Turns: A Potpourri of short stories” does live up to every word of its title: it has a lot of interesting twists and turns; but the climax, or the breathtaking, “Okay! What?” moments usually happen in between the intervals when the reader has put their guard down for the slightest one- or two- seconds’ gap, leaving them “Oh! ‘Fish’!”
The stories all happen in the metro India; where we all live- and so do Mona’s characters. They’re all ‘regular’ people we all see walking around, like you and me- and yet, before the story ends, there comes a moment that makes them special; a moment that makes them ‘protagonists’, which sets them apart.
You would find here a housewife who is so harassed and tortured by her husband that the news of his accidental death leaves her with a whimper of glee, rather than agony; a dog who observes everything with a cynical analysis of a human; spirits that come back as ghosts and reincarnations- I can go on and on. Mona Mohanty does make you believe in all of it while you are in the story.
The stories are usually fast-paced- and yet they do not ‘rush’ the reader through as if shoving them to the climax. And that’s something you find missing in a lot of well-plotted books and stories even- either they move too slow, describing pointless details in a desperate bid to sound ‘intellectual, ‘philosophical’ or ‘writer-like’, or they move at an unnaturally fast pace, skipping details and turns so much that you can almost hear the pages being ruffled in a frenzy!
Kudos to Mona Mohanty, for circumventing around both the pitfalls.
All in all, it’s a good read- not only a real entertainer, but it does leave you with a subtle soberness in your subconscious.
DO READ: Why shouldn’t you?? It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time!
DON’T READ: I cannot think of a single reason, and you’re most welcome to get me one.