Thursday 11 February 2021

Book Review of ‘Four Blocks Wide’ by Nithya Sashi.


My 14th read of the year is also a collection of short stories – four stories, each one entirely different from the other. In fact, they may be charted into completely different genres by themselves. This is my first read of this author and I’m certainly looking forward to more.

The Stories

Kalyani is heart-rending. I do not want to risk giving away spoilers, so it’ll suffice to say that the story deals with one of the most crucial issues plaguing society today. Kalyani’s innocence and the subsequent end makes us loathe as well as believe in humanity. I like the way the quiet strength and unity of the villagers have been portrayed.

Shreeja the Invisible is completely unlike any story I’ve read before. Just when we begin to think something has changed in her monotonous life, the story takes a turn of surrealism and leaves us wondering, till the end. Psst, I love the characterization of the guy – intriguing and oozing charm.

The Compartment is unique in the way it juxtaposes the beauty of a book with the realistic movement of a train. The wordplay in the descriptions are delicious and rich with visual imagery.

The Old Age Home and Flat no. 4 is mind-blowing in its twist, especially at the end. The amount of suspense this short story builds up is amazing. A goos psychological thriller, this one.


I was bowled over by the author’s excellent vocabulary and classic narrative style. It is indeed rare to find Indian work that is free from the highly common mother-tongue translation-based Indianisms that plague the writing. We, as Indian reviewers understand the backgrounds of our authors and comprehend the effort that goes into writing. And thus, we end up rating books with even mediocre vocabulary with four stars.

It is indeed a complete joy and pleasant shock to find work of high standards, especially when it pertains to the language and wordplay.

A special mention to the editing skills of the author / editor who has done a commendable job in ensuring minimal typos or errors in the book. I know how tedious, boring and back-breaking it can be, and it never seems to be enough!


A clean 4.6 /5 for this book (amounts to a five). My only grouse? I wanted to read more, it ended too soon for the avid word-devourer in me.

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Happy reading, readers!



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