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Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Lawfully Wedded Husband and Other Stories by Madhulika Liddle

Title: My Lawfully Wedded Husband and Other Stories
Author:  Madhulika Liddle
Publisher:  Westland Limited (2012)
Genre : Fiction
Date:  2012
Price: Rs. 250
Pages: 225

 First of all I thank Westland Limited for a copy of the book and their faith in my reviews. It was an enjoyable read.

Snapshot: It’s a collection of short stories, about realistic characters, written in a simple but an artful manner of revealing the “unusual” or the “suspense” component slowly yet surely, and in a manner that makes you read nonstop right from first to the last page.

The Stories and Critics Perspective:
There are total twelve short stories. Each in a very different set up from another. The first story “Sum Total” is about a young girl who has successfully eliminated people she is not fond of by murdering them. I specifically loved the way it ended. The second story “A Tale of Summer Vacation” is about the story of two sisters. It is described as a series of observations made by the girl narrating the story, who has just gained wisdom to decipher people from their little actions; about these sisters that spin into a beautiful plot. The third story “A Brief Lesson is trust” is a smart story and as reflected by the title, compels the reader to ponder “Whom and (importantly) how much can one trust?” While the fourth story “Feet of Clay” is a very innocent narrative of a child about her childhood love which seems predictable in the beginning but leaves you spellbound at the last line. 

The main story that is also the title of the book, attractive enough to make you want to read it appears strategically at the middle of the book and is predictable. I am sure the book gets this title not because it’s the best story as is the case with most short story collections but because it’s catchy. “Number 63” a story of suspicious neighbors where the author tries the same old school mystery trick, however it is a fun ride. “On the Night Train” again a trick but better than the last one. 

While the best stories are towards the end. The "Silent fear" is short and smart. "St. George and the Dragon" and "The Crusader" well written but predictable". However, the best of all in my opinion are "The Howling Waves of Tranquebar" and  Hourie which are unsual stories with each plot making the book unputdownabble and the end is amazing, unthinkable! Also Tranquebar is described beautifully and mysteriously and this story makes me want to visit it sometime soon. 

The Review:
Positive: Most characters are real life, simple and not extraordinary or imaginary. However the beauty is how imaginatively the author has carved out their stories and presents it in an interesting way so as to let the reader keep guessing what happens till end. Language is good, writing crisp and some stories are really gripping.

Negatives: Some stories are certainly predictible.

The Verdict!!!  A crisp, topsy turvy, light read. Highly recommended for short story lovers. 3.5 stars out of 5.

About the Author: Madhulika Liddle is an Indian writer who writes in English. She is best known for her books featuring the 17th century Mughal detective Muzaffar Jang, although she is also a prolific writer of short fiction, travel writing, and writing related to classic cinema.

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