Book Review: Panorama (Short Stories) by Shilpi Chaklanobis

Reading books is a habit that many would love to inculcate. I know a lot of people who have wanted to start reading as a hobby either to develop the language, speed, vocabulary or simply out of plain interest.
But how does one know where to start? What books to read? Which books to avoid? That is why I started this ‘Book Review’ column to simplify the process and perhaps ease the confusion a bit.
I just read ‘Panorama – A Collection of Short Stories’ by Shilpi Chaklanobis. Here is what I thought.

Book Cover:

The moment I ripped open the packaging, the gleaming image of a child and man’s best friend greeted me charmingly. I loved the whole feeling of the cover, the font of the title as well as the style of the author’s name. Overall, very catchy and definitely something I would pick off a shelf just by first look. However, I wasn’t able to link the cover to the title of the book.
Cover Rating – 4/5

Title Justification:

I personally loved the title and thought it encompassed the essence of the book perfectly. ‘Panorama’ basically means to encompass or to view something from a wider perspective. The conglomeration of these stories brings together a picturesque view of life through the author’s eyes. I found it deep, meaningful and quite attractive.

Title Rating – 4.5/5

Plot

Now, coming to the main part of the book. The stories. I will give a brief outlook at each of the fifteen stories in this book and what I felt stood out the most. Please note that these stories are in order or appearance within the book and are not in order of my preference.

  1. The Wok: The book opens with a simple, yet touching story depicting the lives of a hard-working mother and a dynamic daughter. I loved the ending of this story.
  2. Peanut: This story carries a whiff of an autobiographic feel to it. It’s depicted from a first person narrative by a character that is not the main part of the story. To me, this felt like one of the weaker links of the book but nonetheless, still an interesting read.
  3. The Thirst: Another bang of a story with an excellent climax. The best part about this story was the title. It means so many different things encompassed into just one word.
  4. Selective Secularism: This story was very deep. I loved the scenario and the thought behind this plot. Its social angle was what really drove me in to the core of it.
  5. Bribe: For some reason, I felt myself being carried away with this one. It is an extremely simple story depicting marriage from an experienced viewpoint. I loved this story and it certainly was an interesting read.
  6. Forever: One of my favourites from the book, this story was depicted with vivid details and a tremendous ending. I found myself feeling drawn to the characters.
  7. The Wait: With an excellent twist that was totally unexpected, I found myself smiling once I read the way this story was woven. Impressive word play.
  8. Second Tsunami: Everyone can learn something from this story. I don’t know how the author felt when writing it but I definitely felt a tug in my heart as each word pierced into my skin. Another one of my favourites.
  9. The Example: Another autobiographic story. Maybe this genre is not for me or perhaps the others were far too vibrant – but I found this to be another weak link in the book.
  10. The Meeting: There was an element of relativity in this story that really connected to me. It portrays a situation that happens to probably anyone in any form. It is about friendship and the lack thereof as time carries us away.
  11. Jackpot: A very beautiful story. There is such depth of human emotion in it that it is outstanding. One of the best stories in the book.
  12. Destiny: I got chills when I read this story. Just one word. Amazing.
  13. The Untimely Death: A little slow paced and probably the longest story in the book, this one takes a small and simple situation that is wonderfully woven into a tale.
  14. Before it’s too Late: Time runs out of our hands and enjoyment is replaced by responsibilities. This story portrays the side of life that we all forget to live because we are too trapped by our own deadlines.
  15. The Sealed Wish: I felt as though there couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to this book than to save the best for last. I personally loved this story so much that I read it twice. An amazing read.

Overall Impression:

I generally don’t prefer reading short stories because I am worried about the ups and downs that they may contain. But I am glad I chose this one because there are definitely many more pros than cons with ‘Panorama’. The author is very imaginative while being realistic and knows how to transform normal situations into wonderful tales. Every story had an element to it that I felt I could relate to in my own life. It is such a simple book filled with ordinary situations and relate-worthy characters.

However, if I had to give the author one suggestion, I would definitely ask her to consider creating more lasting impressions with more dialogues, powerful sentence constructions and heartfelt one liners that will stick with the reader for a long, long time.

Final Rating: 4/5
Verdict: Worth every penny!

 

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