Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: Aerogrammes by Tania James

On the jacket:


From the highly acclaimed author of Atlas of Unknowns (“Dazzling . . . One of the most exciting debut novels since Zadie Smith’s White Teeth”—San Francisco Chronicle; “An astonishment of a debut”—Junot Díaz), a bravura collection of short stories set in locales as varied as London, Sierra Leone, and the American Midwest that captures the yearning and dislocation of young men and women around the world.

In “Lion and Panther in London,” a turn-of-the-century Indian wrestler arrives in London desperate to prove himself champion of the world, only to find the city mysteriously absent of challengers. In “Light & Luminous,” a gifted dance instructor falls victim to her own vanity when a student competition allows her a final encore.  In “The Scriptological Review: A Last Letter from the Editor,” a young man obsessively studies his father’s handwriting in hopes of making sense of his death. And in the marvellous “What to Do with Henry,” a white woman from Ohio takes in the illegitimate child her husband left behind in Sierra Leone, as well as an orphaned chimpanzee who comes to anchor this strange new family.

With exuberance and compassion, Tania James once again draws us into the lives of damaged, driven, and beautifully complicated characters who quietly strive for human connection.

Review:

A book of short stories from someone who is considerably new in this genre of writing, makes me apprehensive, as it is. But, the synopsis seemed interesting as well. So, despite not having read James before, I picked up Aerogrammes and other stories

Aerogrammes has been a brilliant read, over the last weekend. A book that includes a ghost story, dy humour, drama, intrigue, adventure, to an extent mystery, and love, all mixed into an amazing concoction!

On of the stories, Lion and Panther in London is about a very interesting wrestling championship while Girl Marries Ghost is about a girl who meets a ghost, who wants to marry her, so he can return to the physical world. The title story, Aerogramme is a story of a father in an old age home, waiting for his son's weekly visits.

The other six stories center on identity, loss, redemption, and love and span across London, India and the US. James's story telling is simple, and the plots easy to understand. The stories have a feel good feeling and ideal for the winter afternoons.

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

2 comments:

  1. My best story in this collection in What to do with Henry :)

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  2. I liked 'Ethnic Ken' the best! My thoughts on the book are here: http://www.booksandalotmore.com/2013/05/02/book-review-aerogrammes-and-other-stories-by-tania-james/

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