Paperback Pickings

Memories never fade away

  • Published 30.10.15

Memories never fade away

♦ UNRESOLVED: A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER (Hachette, Rs 350) by Shobha Nihalani is the story of Maya, a young housewife, who has a history of mental illness. Maya lost her mother while she was a teenager and it took her quite a bit of time to recover from the shock. After her marriage to Deepak, a police officer, Maya moves to a quiet, gated neighbourhood in Noida, away from her noisy hometown of Hinjewadi. Though she feels that Deepak is "the perfect man" for her, yet there is something about his job that bothers her. Maya suspects that Deepak might be hiding a sinister secret from her. But given her past, how far can Maya trust her own instincts? Maya has to spend the better part of the day alone in her bungalow, and the stillness around her could be making her imagine things.

Unresolved attempts to venture into the "dark corners of the human mind", and it does a good job of it. In the process, it also brings out the changing nature of man-woman relationship.

KANHU AND OTHER STORIES (Platinum, Rs 149) translated by Saroj Mishra brings some popular Odiya short stories to a wider readership. This new trend of translating works in vernacular languages to English is a welcome one. It helps the readers of English fiction, especially the metropolitan youth, to learn about different communities, their lifestyles and social mores.

The first story of the collection, "Kanhu's Home", written by Goura Hari Das, deals with the issue of village to city migration. Lack of employment opportunities forces young men in villages to migrate to cities. They strive to make the city their own, but that is not to be. The city is a hard place, not the one they can call home. The "Inauguration of the Electric Crematorium" by Paresh Kumar Patnaik is a laugh riot. It shows in a light-hearted manner how the politicians can have no qualms about engaging in political games even in the most inopportune of times. All the stories in the collection make relevant socio-political observations. However, the quality of the translation is a tad disappointing in places.

REBOOT. REINVENT. REWIRE: MANAGING RETIREMENT IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY (Collins, Rs 250) by Ashutosh Garg asks retirees or those about to retire to "not retire from life". Garg emphasizes that one should have "something to retire to". But that would require planning and being on the same page with one's spouse. Retirement, the author believes, can bring in the best years of one's life.