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Thirteen Kinds of Love — by Soumya Bhattacharya

Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: Rs. 335 INR(paperback), Rs. 399 INR(Kindle edition)
ISBN: 978–9353572761
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2LTXsmp

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.

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.

My take on the book:

Thirteen kinds of Love is a collection of short stories majorly centered around the residents and people related to the apartment tower Imperial Heights in Mumbai, as mentioned in the prologue. In contrast to other short stories collection, this book has this apartment running as a common thread between the stories which is brought forward by the author from the third story where the reader realizes that the character from second story and the third story meet and interact. Also, the author follows a unique approach of conveying these stories, with each time a change in perspective with change in the person who is narrating.

As the readers get to know in the first story about a simple guy Rakesh who joins a family as their car driver, so that he can afford to buy clothes from his favorite store. His perspective about the family where he works is that everything is well and that they are a happy and rich family, but only later in the book does the reader understand the reality behind their relationships and thus a different perspective.

The book is all about relationships, love, loss, especially modern take on human emotions, well weaved in the backdrop of these thirteen stories. The narration style of the author is the highlight of the book as well as the vocabulary used to convey simple everyday things as well as complex feelings with equal impact. The minimalist design of the cover is a synonym of the stories that are inside the book, signifying how the lives of people living in this place are interlinked.

Pick Thirteen Kinds of Love for rich prose, engaging narration and interesting and relate able characters.

My rating: