The beauty of short stories lies in the fact that magic can be woven in a few pages and a lot can be said in a few words.
Name:Another man’s wife
Manjul Bajaj’s Another Man’s Wife is a collection of nine short stories each dealing with concepts such as love, deceit and intimacy. The four stories which standout in the collection are Me and Sammy Fernandez, Marrying Nusrat, The Birthmark and A deepavali Gift. The first is set in Goa and talks about the romance and marriage of Corry and Sammy. Though a story told many times before, its narrative brings Goa to life along with describing the story of the lead characters from love to a tragic and violent end. Marrying Nusrat is the tale of childhood infatuation on the backdrop of women’s empowerment.
The Birthmark is one of the best stories of the collection. It tackles the concept of overcoming female foeticide with an ending that surprisingly brings a slight smile to your face. Another story worth a mention is A deepavali Gift which stresses on sacrifice and moving ahead in life. The story definitely manages to touch your heart. Unfortunately, the title story of the book runs into a tedious 88 pages which is its biggest weakness. The story is of a village boy and a tribal girl who fall in love, get married and run away. When tragedy strikes them they meet a “Seth” who offers them a deal which could rid them of their worries but in exchange for something that takes them by surprise.
The story although well-written somehow due to its length and lack of focus at many points fails to engage the reader. Ripe mangoes tries to highlight a married woman’s trials with infidelity. The writer in trying to give the story an authentic feel in terms of narrative and language, fails and this results in numerous awkward sentences.
The last of the stories is Across Borders which fails for the basic reason that it could be considered quite stereotypical and is basically a tale of many disjointed elements that fail to connect even at the end of the story. However, the beauty of short stories lies in the fact that magic can be woven in a few pages and a lot can be said in a few words. It is in basic concept that the book fails.