Monday, March 06, 2017

Book Review: The Measure of a Man: Stories of 2017 - February Edition by Sharath Komarraju

The Measure of a Man: Stories of 2017 - February Edition by Sharath Komarraju

An interesting set of stories with the core theme of Love … since it was the valentine Month 

What Sharath has accomplished in these 5 stories is bring out love in not only different ways but very untraditional ways. The stories are very different from the love stories you would normally read. Maybe this is the ‘new age love’ genre.

The first story - ‘A Coffee Date’ - is a very interesting ‘love’ story ... but is it really a love story? There is no love 'yet between the 2 characters – just an interest. They do not 'date' in the story (but the title stll holds). And surely there is no romance 'yet' – there is no ‘I love you’ proclamation or even feeling. This short story begins and ends ... before the love story has begun ... yet, this one is a sweet love story. Good One

The second story - ‘The Measure of Man’ - is a sweet love story where ‘all’s well that ends well’. Remember the old Bollywood movies where the rich girl’s father would mock the poor hero and he would go about earning riches and come back to claim his girl. This story takes on a different route. The father helps the guy become rich and the girl falls out of love. Sounds strange … right? But Sharath has woven a narrative that is believable and plausible. A nice little love story with a twist in the middle rather than at the end.

The third story - ‘Happy For You’ - is a ‘relationship’ story ... Yes, there is love and it is between the only 2 characters in the story but it is definitely not your usual love story. In some ways, it is not a story, it is not fiction. It sounds/seems very real. The exchanges are realistic. We live in an age where relationships have become complicated in the sense that you can’t describe or explain them. And they have become simple in the sense that they are not bound by rules and stereotypes and one can choose to move on as well as be bound at the same time (well .. that does make it complicated again haha). Especially, a very nice format to experiment with and a very relevant style since whatsapp / chat interactions have 'replaced' human interaction (in-person as well as direct-phone-conversation) to a significant extent. heck, people don’t even call to wish happy birthday now.

The fourth story – The other Man - is several things in a story. The way today’s youngster would look at a crush-story and the way it would be seen by their parents and grand-parents ... generation gap one may call it, getting real might call others. The story isn't really about the crush ... it’s about grandma's reality ... the reality that is locked and put on hold in time in the picture from ages ago. That’s her reality and she wouldn't want to change it. The story is about a man and his perception of his Dad ... and what happens when his perceptions are shattered or changed by a realistic reliable credible source like his Mom. How easy / difficult / complex it is to digest the change. Different Love it is.

The fifth story – Rendezvous - is a funny little story that is all about sex. But the story has no sex although there is sex in practically every page of the story, maybe even in every paragraph. Also, the story once again seems very very real. Maybe, somewhere along the story title, the author could have added 'True Story' or 'Based on True Events' :)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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