This post contains affiliate links for products and services I recommend. If you make a purchase through those links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Many thanks to the author for introducing this collection to me. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
Phew, what an emotional roller coaster ride!
If you are interested in taking a journey thru an entire spectrum of colors, be sure to read this collection of short stories by author Manik Bal.
Beginning with BAPU, which gives us memories of comfort and contentment, till WHY ME? that leaves the reader with a lump in their throat, each story offers a slice of life reflecting the varied and diverse spices of the human emotions. If BAPU offered us a loving grandfather, the very next story HER FATHER’S KILLER shows us the exact opposite. As sinister as the title, the story is also a dark look into the abuse of alcohol.
There’s a story and an emotion for everyone, bringing the flavor of college friendships, worrying about status and peer pressure, tensions and responsibilities that hover over a middle-class family, middle-age crisis, a look into the Indian diaspora who actually celebrate Indianness much more than all the Indians put together, loss of a friend and the sadness it leaves behind…. YES, there’s definitely something for everyone here.
It is also a realization for me that reading a book set around the place that you live in adds an extra zing to the stories coz the characters are real, he or she is someone you know, just around the corner and whilst reading, I felt like a bug on the wall, coz the events are extremely relatable. The short story collection is also peppered with songs which made me wanna listen to all of them again.
Whiskey and Suicide and other stories is definitely an eclectic mix with multiple themes offering a plethora of emotions and a hard look into the dreams of an average middle-class Indian.
Whiskey and Suicide paints a kaleidoscope of myriad emotions of the Indian middle class families. In a very informal storytelling style, it narrates the dilemmas of the urban families in dealing with the conflicting emotions arising due to contradictory desires. It is the bonds of family and friendship that allow the protagonists to deal with these crises which are depicted by Manik Bal in a detached but empathetic narrative style reminiscent of the great “slice of life” storytellers of the east and the west.
Modern India is a complex place with the variety of demographics ranging from the multi billionaires to people who are not able to get a day’s meal. The financial liberalization and the IT revolution has created a middle class that is ambitious both in economic aims and spiritual aims. Whiskey and Suicide is empathetic without being condescending.
This review is published in my blog https://rainnbooks.com/, Goodreads, Amazon India, and Twitter.