Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Devil in Us by Monica Bhide - a Book Review




I’ve known Monica Bhide, or rather about her, for years. I’ve followed her food writing, read her interviews in magazines, thought about taking up her food writing course. So, when I got a mail from her about her debut into the world of short fiction, I wanted to review her book, ‘The Devil in Us’ (Thanks Monica, for sending me a copy personally). I loved the turquoise cover with the imprint of Indian art. And I liked the name, an interesting twist on human nature and the dark side in each of us, the tweaks and turns that weave our daily life into a fascinating tapestry of stories and secrets.

The 13 stories within the pages of the e-book take you through the alleys of the mind, through the by lanes of life, through hidden pasts and better hidden memories, through shades of grey and the frayed edges of human personalities. I liked the thought Monica has put into creating each story, etching out each character. I also enjoyed how she’s brought forth each story, while making her way through the weave and weft of complicated lives.


Each piece of fiction in this book is different. While one revolves around a newly married couple and the way their love blossoms amidst tragedy, another is about a sunshine man with a dark past. A suburban housewife who resolutely remains unhappy in spite of the abundance in her life, a talented poet who lets addiction ruin her present, a soul catcher who gives someone the gift of love. Monica Bhide’s stories are as varied as the spices in her spice box. There are 13 of them for the reader of delve into and discover the flavor of.

However, the two things that I would have liked for this book are tighter plots and succinct narration. Having said that, I’d urge readers, especially those who enjoy reading (and writing) short stories, to pick this book up for a coffee + book session as winter rolls in. Carry it with you for short reads, take it with you on a vacation, slip it into your Kindle for a quick read when the baby naps.

You can find out more about the book here.

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