Today, it has become the norm to put as less as two-three short stories together into an anthology. The Kindle platform has enabled even single short stories to be called a ‘book’. While non-readers may feel triumphant about having read another ‘book’, avid readers may be left feeling cheated when the reading ends too soon. In this regard, ‘Love’ is an anthology that sports a good length and a decent number of pages, with 20 stories for readers to enjoy.
Each story is different, some of them almost belong to entirely different genres, including paranormal and magical realism. The common thread that runs along all of them is the theme of love, in all its myriad forms. It is a sheer delight to devour the varying writing styles and expertise of the authors, all in one book.
The most impactful story for me was ‘Take Me to Your Heart’ by Pallavi Sawant Uttekar. The angst of suppression and loss, centered around the setting of a medical college, is showcased with panache. I also liked ‘Hand in Hand into the Sunset’ by Narayani Manapadam, with its distinct south Indian flavor in vocabulary and mannerisms of the characters.
Another poignant story is the one by Alpna Sharma titled ‘Of Forsaken Flowers and Forbidden Frontiers’, a classic heart-wrenching saga. So is the tale by Alipi Das, 'The Daffodils of the Yorkshire Moors', which resonates with delicious literary descriptions and sports nuances of timeless poetry of the lake poets. ‘The Unwritten Story’ by Sarves is a compelling read as well, with the right amount of humour and suspense woven into a tragic tale.
It is sheer joy to read vocabulary that is flawless. It is well acknowledged by most readers that Indian authorial works are bound to have Indianisms, replete with what is now commonly referred to as Indian English. While this is becoming more acceptable by the day, seasoned readers however, may feel the jarring experience of constant grammatical incorrectness and common errors that are missed by the editing team of the publishers, in the recent spate of self-published Indian works.
One therefore prepares oneself to encounter ample errors in most Indie books, especially anthologies. This book turned out to be pleasant surprise, with its top-notch language and perfect vocabulary juxtaposed with compelling narration and multi-genre story-telling. Kudos to the editorial team that has ensured this challenging feat.
I rate the book 4.7 out of 5. Putting together such a sheer number of stories is not an easy task and the Hive team has brought out a compelling anthology.
The only grouse I had is that I missed having a contents page in the beginning of the book, with the stories and respective author names against them to click on and choose which one I wanted to read first. I had to keep scrolling the whole book, going back and forth trying to figure out which author had written which story.
Overall, a must-read, especially for readers who like short stories with good quality work.
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Happy Reading, readers!