From the back blurb: We are brought up listening to and reading stories, which make us form a clichéd framework of expectations and concepts about life. Café Latte, takes you on a tantalizing foray into the unusual with some refreshing and some startling narrations. The stories cover a broad spectrum of people and events and will have you turning the pages eagerly for the twist in the end.
So shed the mundane, become a fearless traveler and savor a fresh approach towards the enigma called Life.
When a good friend and awesome book reviewer Sakshi Nanda (www.sakshinanda.com) reviewed this book and had more than quite a few kind words to say about it, my interest was immediately piqued. And as if on cue, TheBookaholics (www.thebookaholics.in) got in touch with me on Facebook and asked me if I would be interested in reading and reviewing this book and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Maybe I was expecting a little too much from the book, or maybe my wavelength didn’t quite match that of the author, but overall I found this collection of short stories quite boring, to say the least.
Yes, the book does have its good stories such as The Dream Chaser, Every mouse ain’t a Mickey Mouse, The Jazz Player and 26 Down Express which really make you sit up and take notice, and which have really good twists at the end, but stories such as the first one Temple of the King and Let me help you die were clichéd and predictable. While I don’t have an issue with trying to insert a twist at the end of the story to shock readers, the fact remains that whenever such stories are written, the author walks on a tight rope. The entire experience of the story hinges on what the twist is and how it is presented to readers. If the twist is good and it gels with the flow of the rest of the story and you have a winner, if not, then the entire story becomes a damp squib, irrespective of how good the rest of the story. And sadly for me, most of the twists in this anthology did not work.
Another thing which did not work for me, and this is something that Sakshi also mentions in her review is the fact that the author, for whatever reason, believes in providing ‘complete closures’ to all his stories despite the twist. It is almost as if he doesn’t believe his readers will come to the right conclusions. And this dumbing down of almost all the stories was something that didn’t work for me.
Yet despite all the problems, there were some really good things about almost all the stories. While the characters are people you and me might encounter on a daily basis, the situations they face and the dilemmas they face are not ‘everyday situations’. To write stories with these situations, and believable ones means that the author has put his heart and soul into almost all the stories.
The fact that this is an anthology featuring a single author, the reader does get an insight into the variety of topics that he can handle. And just for this, Café Latte is worth at least one reading, if not more.
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Disclaimer: This review was commissioned by TheBookaholics (www.thebookaholics.in) but is completely unbiased and all the views expressed here are my own.
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2 thoughts on “Cafe Latte, Eighteen unusual short stories – Amit Shankar – Book Review”
Honest, I liked it. I too love books that give me something to ponder about for long after I have finished reading it. What’s the point in watering it all down to zero?!
@Asha, true 🙂