A child cares for a family of pigeons nesting in his balcony; is his parents’ relationship as diseased as the illness ravaging the baby pigeons? A man mulls over desire engendered by love and that which springs from mere lust. A couple confesses to the reader the reasons for the widening chasm between them. An intricate mesh of relationships and lives, Thirteen Kinds of Love follows the fortunes of several families living and working in an apartment block in Mumbai. This is a book about loving and losing, about trying to redeem oneself, about attempts to remake and refashion what has been torn asunder. Soumya Bhattacharya draws the reader into the narrative using his deeply evocative, distinctive prose. This is an astute exploration of how we live and love today.
Publisher : HarperCollins India
Book length : 200
A collection of thirteen short stories that are compiled and held together by a common thread. As the title goes the stories are themed around love. This is not specifically romance but the kind of relationship that sprouts up at different situations in life.
The common thread is that all the characters in the book live in a posh apartment in Mumbai, Imperial heights. A maid who works in these houses what would her thoughts be on, knowing the truth in each family in the midst of her married life which is already in a turmoil.
The narration and the choice of words used by the author make it an interesting read. The story is in the form of emails or text exchanges between the characters which makes it different from other short story collection.
The author glides with the narration and the transition from one story to another with such ease that makes you understand that even though the characters are residing in the same apartment there is a slight difference in the way of intertwining with each other since each of the houses have a different story. If it’s a widower bringing up her son , being an interest for someone else, or a husband trying to get back from his wife’s loss or a son who is to handle the separation from his parents who are divorced from mutual consent it all circles back to love. The magical word that could keep us together or could even take us far from the ones we love.
A special mention to the cover simple, yet captivating and makes you want to pick it up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Soumya Bhattacharya is the author of five previous books of fiction, non-fiction and memoir. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Independent, the Sydney Morning Herald and Granta, among others. He is the managing editor at Hindustan Times and lives in New Delhi.
This book review is part of the blogchatter book review program.