Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Café Latte - Book Review

Café Latte
By Amit Shankar
Review By Ila Garg

The anthology comprising of 18 remarkable short stories, Café Latte, has been published by Vitasta Publishing Pvt. Ltd. The collection is penned down by the author, Amit Shankar, who is earlier known for his novels titled Flight of the Hilsa, Chapter Eleven, and Love is Vodka – A Shot Ain’t Enough. The cover of Café Latte is simple yet beautiful. The coffee cups gathered together symbolise the many different stories compiled together in this book. The use of pink and green color is interesting too.

In addition to writing, the author is an avid music buff and a great exponent of the guitar. His genre includes rock, jazz and blues. We often see a reflection of this in his stories.

The blurb reads as “We are brought up listening to and reading stories, which makes us form a clichéd framework of expectations and concepts about life. Café Latte takes you on a tantalizing foray into the unusual with some refreshing and some startling narrations. The stories cover a broad spectrum of people and events and will have you turning the pages eagerly for the twist in the end.
So shed the mundane, become a fearless traveller and savor a fresh approach towards the enigma called Life.”

Each story is instilled with realism at its best. Different hues of death are portrayed efficiently. The language is simple and comprehensive. Details are also well written. On the whole, the collection is nicely compiled and stories are engrossing.

Although, as I began reading the first story in the collection, Temple Of The King, I was in two minds. I felt that the plot wasn’t that extraordinary. However, I soon found myself enjoying as I reached the second one in the compilation, 26 Down Express. The climax left me shocked. However, I felt I’m back to square zero while reading Let Me Help You Die.

The two elements of surprise and shock are well knit in this collection by the author. Expressions from heart are always real and pure, same is the case here in Café Latte. The narrative is quite strong. Sometimes the pace gets fast, though the emotions are well maintained. True reality is pictured which pinches you somewhere and shows you the mirror unto society. Code of Honor is one such story that described the life of an army man in all its sanctity. The Jazz Player is one of the saddest stories while The Black Widow left me shaken. To write a convincing paranormal fiction is not an easy task after all. Café Latte thus leaves your eyes moist with tears.

Not all stories are the same, though. With their predictable ending, Temple Of The King, Let Me Help You Die, Smart TV and few more left me questioning the author’s earlier bestselling status.

The stories end with a lot of subtle questions that leave your mind ticking. The author has made very interesting and keen observations before penning down each story. Kudos to the writer for his brilliant attempt and the well execution of the experimental writings!

In a world driven by technology, people have limited reading time, short concentration span and more than enough things on their platter to leave them distracted and thus unlikely to pick a novel. But Café Latte being a short story collection gains some brownie points here. The book is also a different effort as none of the stories is romantic or nowhere near to it. The book attempts to glorify death, loss and pain associated with it.

This book is recommended to all readers who are bored of reading romance.

Rating: 3.5/5 

This Book Review is in association with The Bookaholics - www.thebookaholics.in

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