Betwixt Twists and Turns
By Mona Mohanty
Review By Ila Garg
Betwixt Twists and Turns, a potpourri of short stories by Mona Mohanty, is published by Penguin Partridge Publications. The cover design shows an abstract art with a human skull. I could make out that the stories would be centered around the themes of what goes inside a human mind from the cover. Interesting enough to tempt me to pick it and start reading.
Mona Mohanty has had a passion for short stories since childhood. This passion gets reflected well in this collection too. She has served as an officer of the Indian Revenue Service for more than two decades and currently lives in New Delhi.
The blurb reads as, “Dragonflies are said to be harbingers of rain, but they may be much more for one unsuspecting woman. A household dog finds a reprieve when Grandma comes to stay. A young man stops by an ATM at night and finds himself encountering robbers-and a young woman who may not be what she seems.
In Betwixt Twists and Turns, author Mona Mohanty presents a series of short stories born from random thoughts that popped up out of nowhere, overheard bits of conversation, parables of family lore, and anecdotes from friends. These tales come from a variety of viewpoints-an older woman who receives an unexpected telegram, a businessman who encounters what might be a ghost, and various animals sharing their impressions of human life. These stories vividly capture the routine of existence-but with a surprising twist.
This collection of short stories set in India features tales with unexpected outcomes from a wide range of perspectives, both human and animal.”
Perspectives have always intrigued me, so this one was a must read for me. This anthology doesn’t disappoint you at any point. All the stories are based on the worlds of humans and animals.
There are 25 stories in this 112-page book, so clearly the stories are very short in length and maybe that is there USP. They are lucid and do not drag on. The author has made sure that the stories hit the point bang on and do not get boring. The language is simple and easy to comprehend. I found all the stories quite engaging. The subjects are tackled intricately by the skillful author.
All the stories are accompanied by a related picture at the beginning – something that I liked. I would not give you any spoilers here except for the titles of the stories – here they are: Wandering, In the Mind’s Eye, A Drive, A Meeting, Turning the Corner, Life’s Well, Wind beneath My Wings, Food for Thought, Toy Stories, The Sentinel, Hustle in a Bustle, Memories, The Dark Knight, Spanner in the Works, The Message Trail, The Route, Déjà vu, The Nest, On the Mountain Track, The Open Closet, Watch and Ward, Prayers, The Call, Stop, and Lullaby.
Further, this book is definitely for those readers who want to read some intellectual stuff and not just time pass. It’s a light read and overall a compelling book. You can easily carry it during travel and finish it off in an hour or two. A book that gave me a lot to reflect on! Highly recommended!