Book, Reviews

Crossed & Knotted – literary review

If writing a novel is an art, penning a short story is art in its advanced stage. This would be vouchsafed by any writer worth his/her salt. What then would one call, the art of writing multiple short stories and linking all those stories to form one big story? Quite daunting task – one might think, to write such a unique story. Hold your breath! For this might just blow you away. What if each story was authored by a different writer to form one Grand story – a wholesome story; an apodictic novel made up of tiny, vibrant, countless number of tales from various parts of the country, nay, world. Mind-boggling – to say the least. Yet, the seemingly impossible has been attempted. Words have been weaved into and across webs, growing tall as mountains, traversing divergent terrains, avoiding snarling traffic, merging cultures, crossing into each other, evoking senses of fear, thrill, affection, loathsomeness and love, to finally form a big knot; a knot crossed and knotted enough to be termed Crossed & Knotted.

Though contrary in professions and life styles, the common platform shared by all the authors of Readomania’s Crossed & Knotted is the love for writing. Without love, this writing would not have emanated. The gushing forth of unbridled emotions washes and takes one on a whirlwind of fantasy. Love for the lingua franca has been the pivoting force acting on all the authors to have made possible this different approach of writing.

Sudip remains firmly etched in one’s memory. His transition through the different phases of his life is crystal clear. One cannot but wonder if Sutapa Basu framed the name of the character based on her name. Sutapa’s writing has lucidly portrayed the innocence manipulated by the deceptiveness of the society. The turmoil between Sudip and his conscience is mind-searching. The title A Curious Dalliance verily makes one curious about many things. Questions are left unanswered making one eager to jump headlong into the next chapter.

Ayan Pal has written a snippet that proves yet again, his mettle as a writer of growing reputation. His unimpaired language skills make The Diary of Joseph Varughese a riveting read. The chapter has a thread of connection from the previous story. Moving at a relaxed pace initially, the story picks up speed and suspense with each passing page and ends with a spine chilling note. The beauty of Kerala among the pages draws the reader like a magnet towards the story, endearing himself/herself to the story.

Sanchita Sen Das’s experiences as a journalist have given her story an edge over other stories in her portrayal of the mindset of a journalist in the story. Siya lives in the hearts of the readers as a lonely and frightened wife – yet managing to do justice to her profession by intimidating intimidation. She is the picture of a modern woman, balancing work and being a loving mother. The Web of Life spins out several strands from the web of life including psychology, and makes the cobweb quite inter-crossed and inter-knotted.

The merging of two cultures and the comparisons drawn are proofs of the ingenuity of Arvind Passey in The real fiction of Illiana Braun. The knowledge of the author on different cultures compels the reader to visualize the murky waters of the Ouse on the banks of which strolled Varu in his Scottish coat. Arvind is able to give the reader feelings of joy and premonition at the drop of a hat. The inclusion of the three witches reminds one of The Bard and his plays.

A Burning Candle by Mithun Mukherjee buds on a suspicious note and blossoms into an eerie atmosphere that has one’s senses numbed and frozen by fear. The transition leaves one speechless. One begins to wonder! Could it happen? If yes, could it be happening to me in real life? Such is the power of Mithun’s narration. The background of the story adds to the weird feeling.

The Grand story that had introduced many characters takes a turn under the guidance of Avanti Sopory, bringing in some of the old characters. The setting of the story takes the reader to a terrain and country not usually written about. The strong message imbibed in the story does not lessen the interest, but rather gives the story credibility. Relics to Ruins certainly makes one see for real what one watches in televisions.

Leap of Faith by Bhaswar Mukherjee gives the reader faith in taking the leap of faith. For, if not for hope and faith, then how would mankind sustain itself? Hope amidst turmoil, humanity standing tall when all seems to be lost and love triumphing over hate are some of the key elements on which Bhaswar the war(word)lord has built his tribe. The linking of seemingly unconnected events shows the brilliance of the author.

Reclaiming Life by Anupama Jain would give many a reader the courage and the wisdom necessary to reclaim their lives, if necessary. Poorni is pitied initially and admired finally by all readers. Anupama has definitely taken Indian Writing to new levels by masterfully describing an Indian family situation. The necessity to act for the sake of the society and the shackles the society can put on a person and families have been powerfully written.

Unlike Smaug of The Hobbit which slept for years silently, Deepti Menon’s dragon breathes fire down the necks of all people it encounters in its life relentlessly and consistently. The depiction of Kamu in the Dragon Lady speaks volumes of the ability of the writer. Drafted in flawless English, the story makes for a delightful read except for the irate feeling Kamu evokes in the reader, which again proves the hallmark of Deepti as an efficient writer. The only thought running across one’s mind would probably be ‘On whom did Deepti model Kamu?

 Amrit Sinha has penned a wonderful story under the title For a Speck of a Moment. His experiences as an Analytics Consultant have crept into his story, forming a sub-plot much necessary for the progress of the tale. The real life atrocities that were just news have become personal, thanks to Amrit. He gets the reader to feel the pain of losing and the joy of gaining, in love. One cannot but feel one’s heart going out to Binoy.

To Ma & Pa, Can Amore! is a lively tale that abounds with the love, quarrels and situations that any might face while living in India. Monika Nair’s Shanker struts around in the worlds of the readers strutting around rigidly while his eyes betray the love for his daughter Mona Lisa. The modern outlook which is so feared by parents because of the unknown is written fabulously. The love happening is casual and real, taking one on a memorable trip down the lane by years.

Look Beyond by Amar Lakshya Pawar introduces a crucial character to the success of the Grand story. One of the hopeless situations in which human beings are sometimes stranded, is written in a way to make the reader feel the pain. The three witches make their presence felt once again, adding a sinister touch to the plot.

Bhuvaneshwari Shankar brings to light the possibilities that could be thrown at the feet of a person by circumstances. Dawn at Dusk is a fitting title, as dawn is experienced by Sudip at a stage when daylight was deemed impossible. The Grand story too gets its adrenaline rush, giving the readers a smile on their faces. The author’s language is apt thanks to her doctoral degree in English Literature.

The title and the content of The Last Act remind one of His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sudip has been masterfully portrayed by Arpita Banerjee. The tale told by the security guard, the scribbling on the diary, the unused flat… all make for a thrilling read. The scene in the hospital is the cream on the cake. The love of Sudip for his family is the linking thread of Crossed & Knotted.

To sum it up, Crossed & Knotted makes the readers realize that there are authors in India, many of whom are budding, who can mesmerize people with their story line, plot and language skills. The venture into an area not attempted by others is a laudable effort by Readomania. The novel is definitely worth its salt and not some run of the mill product. The downside of the novel would be the many characters that have drifted off midway, never to return. But this is to be expected of a novel of its kind. Language purists would be happy with but a few authors whose writings are without errors in areas of concord, idioms, pronouns and tenses. The second edition should probably see the death of such errors. When taking into account the insurmountable height Readomania’s Crossed & Knotted has come to, such errors are easily forgiven. On a contemporary rating, Crossed & Knotted would stay at the top of the peak for a long time.

Rating: 4.5/5

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