Monday, July 09, 2012

10 ½ Stories by Saurabh Subhash Pawse: Impressions

As with all things, book review blogging comes with its share of pleasures and perils. Sometimes you have a Random House asking you to review their new releases and sometimes, you have requests from new authors (who also happen to be ex bosses of your spouse) to review new works. And when the latter happens, you cannot say no. That’s how I landed 10 ½ Stories by Saurabh Subhash Pawse. Before I began the book, and after I finished it, I’ve maintained that the best thing about the book is its title. If for nothing else, one might pick up the book out of curiosity about half that story. (Although there is nothing to take home from that last unfinished tale.)

The book, as the name suggests, is a collection of 10 and a half stories, if they can be called that. Some aren’t fiction at all; they seem more like accounts from the author’s real life. In these accounts, like ‘The Discontented Commuter’ or ‘Deja Vu’, Pawse narrates his experiences and tries really hard to be funny. But humour is difficult. Wry humour is doubly difficult. He has a long way to go. The problem with the author’s style is that he is waayyy too analytical, and doesn’t spare his readers the process by which he arrives at his conclusions. He doesn’t credit his reader with any intelligence, and deems to explain himself every step of the way.

Sample this:
“Forgive me for meandering, but if I had not let my thoughts pour forth in the manner in which they have, with unabashed frankness, you, my dear readers, would not have been able to fathom the gravity of the next sentence.”

And this.
“If you, my dear readers, have noticed, I have used the ‘past tense’ in explaining this little idiosyncrasy of mine - to be precise I have used the words was, had, did and possessed. That is because I possessed this ‘idiosyncrasy’ as I choose to call it, until a little incident that happened in my life fairly recently.”

Seriously, Mister Pawse? Your ‘dear readers’ aren’t really in class three.

One more thing the author needs a little practise with his romantic voice. The first story, ‘If Looks Could Kill’ is positively howlarious, and not in a good way. “A generous dabbing of kohl on her eyelids, served to outline and accentuate the form of her gorgeous eyes, out of which emerged long and thin eyelashes, curving upwards, much like the awning of a shop, providing shelter and protection to the eyes.” Eyelashes like awnings!? Bahahahahaha!

However, where the author has some promise is the pure fiction department. ‘Jalpaiguri In’, ‘The Scarlet Letter’ and ‘The Conman’ are decent enough stories, and Pawse has a penchant for endings with a little twist. If he wants to succeed as a writer, fiction is the way he should go. 10 ½ Stories isn’t too bad a start.


You can buy the book here, and check out its Facebook page here.

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