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A Jar of Stories — by by Sumeetha Manikandan (Author), Priya Dalvi (Author), Tina Sequeira (Author), Swati Kaushik (Author), Akshata Ram (Author), Koral Dasgupta (Foreword)

Publisher: Half Baked Beans
Price: Rs. 55 INR(Kindle Edition)
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2SwV48E

“Women are meant to be loved, not understood.”- Oscar Wilde

What happens when you leave 17 women in a room with no escape roof? They talk of longing and heartache. Of night sky and the fireflies . Of smokes and ashes. Of memories and scars. Of dreams and cravings.

In this handpicked collection, we bring together selected short stories from women writers that let you admire life with its commonality and exclusivity. Stories those are beguiling, evocative, animating, poignant, and hilarious.

A Pandora box of emotions.

My take on the book:

A Jar of Stories is a collection of seventeen stories all by women writers and majorly centered around women characters, set against urban landscape while exploring myriad genres. The book starts with a physiological and paranormal thriller ‘Neela’ which also touches upon our decisions and their long-lasting effect on our lives. The next One Night Stand is about a young woman’s decisions coupled with her parents’ dilemmas about society’s acceptance. Yakshini in us is yet to sleep is the most unique and bold attempt by the author imagining the emotions of women from our epics if they are still around and witnessing the present society. 

One story is about child sexual abuse and the trauma faced by kids who lack parental support in such situations, one about the obsession around body image and skin complexions, another about domestic abuse where strong independent women also lose themselves when in toxic relationships, another about women returning to their profession after a hiatus. 

Each of the stories sensitively portray the decisions taken by women, their emotions, their happiness and sadness, without sounding explicitly as feminist. The characters are real and relatable, some evoke sympathy while some motivate, while others put across uncomfortable questions. Sumeetha Manikandan’s Dodging Curveballs is one of my favorites along with One Night Stand for the sheer conviction with which they are narrated. Since Dodging Curveballs is a prequel to an upcoming novel, I am most excited to wait for it. 

While some stories could have ended better, nonetheless the variety of emotions touched upon through these stories is truly amazing. All the ladies out there, read this anthology, which is one of the most fulfilling and motivating read in recent times.

My rating: