Sunday, February 7, 2016

First Brush on the Canvas, an Anthology : A Review


BOOK TITLE: First Brush on the Canvas

AUTHOR: Multiple authors; Presented and Edited by Priyanka Roy Banerjee

ISBN/ASIN: 978-9384315061

GENRE: Fiction / Anthology

NUMBER OF PAGES: 160

FORMAT: Paperback

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Priyanka Roy Banerjee of Writersmelon for this review copy.

SUMMARY:

'Le Siffleur' and his magic. 

Vampires, guardians' adventures at night. 

Coffee, love and a new couple. 

Imli and her mother in a complex web of darkness. 

A small town girl confused about virginity. 

Michael Jaikishen and his writing endeavours. 

Child adoption by a gay couple. 

Mahabharat - a modern tale in an epic form. 

The spine-chilling tale of Tina and Uncle Joe. 

A juicy love story by our guest author Sujata Parashar. 

These and many other unputdownable stories in this book.

FIRST IMPRESSION:

Some books have covers. And some books have exquisite pieces of art covering the contents. Some books have simple, plain covers that might not give any indication of the great content inside. And then there are books that give the exact hint about the nature and style of story(ies) they might contain. These books are also complemented by simply beautiful covers and a nice title that would intrigue and interest the reader.

First Brush on The Canvas is a collection of 14 stories from 3 major genres - romance, comedy and thriller. The stories are the winning entries from Melonade, a nationwide writing competition conducted by Writersmelon. The foreword and the reminder about why the first of anything is always a special memory attracted me.

REVIEW:

The 14 stories of this anthology, divided into 3 major genres each have a distinct, unique flavour.

Romance:

My second favorite section of the book. Three out of five stories in this genre made their mark in my mind.

Special Mention

The pieces: For being a story that had a nice non twist. The ending reflected the reality of life in a subtle manner.

Popping the Cherry: The last paragraph became the saving grace of the story which dealt with confused teens caving in to peer pressure.

Comedy:

The set of three stories that has two of my favorites. Kudos to the authors for mingling darkness with humour.

Special Mention:

Godliness: I read and reread the last line more than five times before the intended meaning finally sunk in. Veering on the edge of the psychotic, the last line of the story made me jump out of my skin. Though I do think this does not belong in the comedy genre, the story as a standalone without gender classifications succeeded in making me take note of it.

Writer's Block: Good story about a different concept and made me reflect more than I normally would have. The overall effect was to make me wonder how things will most often not go as planned and might still give the desired result. No mention about the result being good or bad.

Thriller:

By the time I read the genre name, a sense of anticipation stole over me. I began reading the book much more eagerly, expecting a lot. But something fell flat, and the last five stories left me feeling wanting and incomplete.

Special Mention:

Tina: My most (and only) favorite story of this genre. The story is one of the best, as far as thrillers go, and I was very surprised by what extent Tina would go to keep Uncle Joe with her. The story held me in place from the first line and I averted my eyes only after I had finished reading the last line. Brilliantly crafted and though it has a few flaws, sent a chill down my spine. And that was the intended purpose of this genre, wasn't it?

Overall comments:

Anthologies are difficult to craft because each story had to hold the reader's interest and impress them. Even if written by the same author, the collection of short stories might not all be great. Some might fail to meet the reader's expectation and sometimes even the author's ideas. Novels have it better in a way because they follow a single or sometimes two or three storylines which merge together and therefore making the reader concentrate on them. They also have a continuity and much larger canvas to make the character sketch and get the reader engrossed into the book. But short stories have to do all of these within a short span of time, the only saving grace being the permission to have an abstract ending.

The language and construction of the stories are above par and it shows that they are the chosen ones among the entries of a competition. But some of the stories fail to make much of an impression. The plots and the writing are unique and refreshing. The anthology is good enough as a travel companion if you are on the look out for casual stories that reflect the ordinary, extraordinary and sometimes the bizzare. The genre classifications are not perfect, with each tale veering slightly from the genre it is supposed to belong to. Overall, a good anthology that shows promise.

VERDICT:

A book that shows the talents of many promising authors!

RATING: 3.5/5

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback

PRICE Rs. 149

BOOK LINKS: Amazon

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