Book Review: Left from the nameless shop by Adithi Rao

Introduction


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ISBN:978-93-5302-325-6

Genre: Fiction/ Anthology

Publishers: Harper Collins

Price: Rs. 399/- (I got the book for review from the publisher)

Behind the Book

A boy communes with the gods by talking to a pillar. The 'hibiscus girl' has her head in the clouds and feet gently planted in her husband's home. Two women, married to the same man, find a strange camaraderie binding them together. The whole town gathers to save the friendly neighbourhood shopkeeper's ice cream from spoiling in the heat. Short-tempered Seshadri hides a terrible shame in his outbursts. A grandfather passes on the magic of self-belief to his grandson. Reminiscent of Malgudi Days, Adithi Rao's debut Left from the Nameless Shop is a charming collection of interconnected stories set in the 1980s featuring the residents of Rudrapura, a small, fictitious town in Karnataka. This is a place bubbling with energy and the sense of community - one you probably lived in and loved while growing up. These are stories of the life you have left behind. One that you hope to return to.

About the Author

After a BA in theatre from Smith College, Massachusetts, USA, Adithi worked as an assistant director on the award-winning Hindi film Satya. The rights to her film scripts have been bought by Aamir Khan Productions Ltd, and Excel Entertainment. Her short fiction appears in the American literary journal Longshot Island. (www.longshotisland.com/?s=Adithi+Rao) Adithi has written Shakuntala and Other Timeless Tales of Ancient India and Growing Up in Pandupur for children. Her stories have been published across anthology collections by various publishing houses, and in English text books across India. When she isn't writing, Adithi conducts writing workshops for children, takes long walks, and cooks food that her family politely enjoys. You can find her at www.adithirao.com.


Long after I was done admiring the beauty of the cover, something in the blurb caught my eye,
"These are stories of the life you have left behind. One that you hope to return to."
What an enticing line!

Set in the fictitious town of Rudrapur, Karnataka this short story collection can easily be called a time machine. For through these stories, the author manages to transport us to the 1980s where hearts were full of love and eyes were full of dream though the pockets could have very well been empty. 

Left from the nameless shop is a collection of 13 short stories, which are not interwoven but are interrelated like the Malgudi Days collection of R.K.Narayan. It comes as no surprise that the author actually thanks Anant Nag for his portrayal of Jaganna in the "Vendor of sweets" which inspired her writings to quite an extent.

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For all my love of Malgudi Days I was more than thrilled to find scattered traces of those stories in this collection. It was deja vu for me at many places as I relived that excitement and sheer joy those stories used to bring to my heart as a kid. R.K. Narayan's writings proved that stories need not be complicated to be loved, sometimes it takes some of the most simplest of things to touch a reader's heart. And here, author Adithi Rao with her heartwarming collection of stories proves it yet again.

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The language is lucid and the narrative is engaging. There is a certain honesty in her writing which elevates the emotional quotient of the stories quite nicely. The reader is drawn into the fictitious world of Rudrapur and its inhabitants, witnessing all the stories unfolding like a movie before their eyes. Through her minute observations and intricate descriptions, she manages to make it all come alive - the characters, that tiny village Rudrapur, the people and their stories. By the end of the book, you actually feel as if one of your grandparents' have narrated the story of their life.

Every story in the collection is crisp and exceptionally written, with not a single element out of place. The stories warm up to you and make a place for themselves in your heart. These are the kind of stories you would have heard from your grandparents on those summer nights you spent lazing on the terrace, with your head on their lap and staring at the star studded sky. From the plausibility to the relatability, everything about these stories smells of familiarity. And it is this familiarity which charms you beyond words.

Strongly recommended, across age groups for this is a book that is going to stay - in hearts, memories and on bookshelves.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like dahi ki sabji - reminiscent of all the good times and reassuringly comfort food for the darkest of nights!

Source: Pakwangali

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