Friday, January 24, 2014

Book-Review: Boats on Land by Janice Pariat

© Written by Tarang Sinha




Finished reading Boats on Land by Janice Pariat, winner of Young Writers Award from Sahitya Akademi.

Recently, I have started reading short stories and I'm enjoying it!

Boats on Land is a unique collection of 15 unusual short stories, set in the North East of India, mostly Shillong, that covers different and interesting themes.

Book cover is really nice.  Stories are gripping and oddly interesting.

But in some stories, while deeply engrossed, I was expecting a striking climax but they somehow disappointed me and ended abruptly without any substantial finish or you can say purpose. Like in "Echo Words" and "The Discovery of Flight", where a couple and a quite and reserved boy inexplicably disappear, respectively, I was expecting some surprising revelation  but I missed that. Similarly, "Secret Corridors" that tells the story of Natalie, who likes Iba, a smart girl in her class and tries to fit in her group, is an interesting read. It beautifully captures the details and innocence of school days, but the climax left me a bit perplexed or you can say I didn't get it.

My favourite stories are 'Pilgrimage' that captures the beauty of homecoming and reminiscing good memories. 'Laitlum' that describes the innocence and restricted life of a youngster who gets a chance to enjoy a joyful bike ride for the first time and cherishes it. 'Boats on Land' is about a very eccentric yet special bond of two stranger turned friends and a tingling pain of separation. I liked the Gothic touch of  'At Kut Madan'. And '19/87' in which a tailor, dorji, who calculates the dreams, and thus gets a companion in his lonely life.

Beautiful writing style of the author, and crisp narration are the highlight of the book, that create lovely imagery. Settings, embellished with natural beauty, of every story are so vivid that you will feel walking along them. Opening of a story is very important, and I liked the way every story opens in this book.

Overall, it was a lovely reading experience. I recommend this book to every book-lover. A must read for those who like reading short stories. I'm really looking forward to Ms. Janice Pariat's next book!


I received this book from "Random House India (Random Reads)" for an honest review.



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