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Monday, 14 March 2016
Review: Pandora's Box by Tushar Sen
Blurb: Pandora's box is a collection of tales that have woven reality and fiction together to serve to the reader spine chilling narratives and jaw dropping climaxes. most of the stories are inspired by real life incidents and characters – like saddam hussein's cia connection, the secret army of the indian prime minister, hitler's biggest mass murderer, strangest rains where frogs fell from the sky, heroism of mold of, terrorist funding in columbia, nasa's controversial moon landings and so on. some stories are inspired by characters around you who touch your lives in so many ways yet go unnoticed. some climaxes will urge you to read the story again with a new perspective. if imagination is more powerful than knowledge then here is a book that invites you to join the author in the most powerful imaginative endeavors you may have ever undertaken till now . . . in a literary environment of course.
Tushar Sen's debut book is proof that Indian publishers must not be afraid to accept and nurture debutante short story writers. Kudos to Leadstart for taking on this writer with great potential.
For, as I have learnt from experience, short stories are a great way to begin practicing and honing the craft of writing- they lubricate and expedite the writing process and mentally prepares a budding writer to undertake the writing of a novel- a much bigger and arduous project.
Tushar Sen's short stories have two major aspects going for them:
1. Themes: The themes in these stories range from domestic terrorism in India to how militant groups in Colombia are funded by multi-nationals to CIA to soldiers fighting in Siachen to the conspiracy theory about NASA's Apollo mission to talking about Hitler's most dangerous minion- Amon Goethe. I appreciate the range of the writer's imagination and the research he has done for his stories.
2. Endings: The writer stays true to his words and has ended every story with an unexpected, jaw-dropping climax. This is a craft in storytelling that not many writers have. Most can write an interesting story, but few can end it with a climax that is completely unexpected and shocking.
This will help if the writer decides to go for a novel next.
However, as a reader I have some issues with the editing.
1. While the language is okay and the prose is of good quality, the use of big words, suddenly and often, in the wrong context, prove to be a jarring experience. What can be said in plain words should not be complicated unnecessarily. While the grammar is okay, the use of complicated words crammed in between lines of simple prose distract from the reading. At places punctuation is missing.
2. There is need to improve the sentence structure too. Sometimes sentences are too long, sometimes two sentences have been joined together, making the prose clunky. The latter is a problem that pervades throughout the book. Sentences should melt into one another, rather than being crammed together by a comma where not necessary. Each sentence presents a single line of thought or information, so we should be careful while clubbing two sentences together.
Still, I would say that Sen's work is important in its very substance and deserves to be read for the sheer art of good storytelling at work here. I hope the writer goes ahead with publishing more short stories and novels on more disparate and intriguing themes.
If you love good short stories with jaw-dropping climaxes, go buy this book here: Pandora's Box