Has love found you even when you didn t go looking for it?
Can love be timeless, forgiving and everlasting?
An Atlas of Love, edited by celebrated bestselling author Anuja Chauhan, is an anthology of romantic shorts that daringly explores the many guises of romance, from its purest form to its darkest depths.
Phoenix Mills takes you through a young man s anguished quest for love; Post-Coital Cigarette makes you flinch at a married man s interpretation of love; and Jilted shows you that love can also be courageous. You will find yourself in the middle of a torrid liaison in The Affair , revel in the euphoria of budding romance in Just One Glance and discover what it means to let go of your loved one in The Impasse .
Love can also be brutal and unconventional as The Unseen Boundaries of Love and Something about Karen will show you. But most of all, as Death of a Widower and Siddharth show, you will see that love is all about hope and taking the leap of faith.
Selected from a nationwide Romance Contest conducted by Rupa Publications, this heart-warming collection of stories urges you to believe that love is eternal...and forever.
Anuja Chauhan is an Indian author and advertiser. She worked in the advertising agency, JWT India, for over 17 years. She has written 3 novels, The Zoya Factor (2008), Battle For Bittora (October 2010) and Those Pricey Thakur Girls (January 2013). All three books are romances.
A good read. Few of the short stories stood out which surprisingly did not get much attention in the blurb. 1. The unseen boundaries of love ***** 2. The library *** 3. Mixed exotica goes to party*** 4. Death of a widower *****
Romance. Stars, Sunshine, Rainbows of different hues and a life abound. It's about togetherness with that special someone for a lifetime. Right? Not quite.
Phoenix mills: So I'm a little confused here. Storytelling or writing is supposed to be anecdotal of course, but with that crisp charm of a dish with a little "special garnish" added to it. This was purely anecdotal and probably not the story I'd start the book with. It's more like a blog post with nothing extraordinary in it which might make you think twice before going back for more. Of the same story. Anyway ... Multiple relationships centred around one location, ghost of girlfriends type of theme.
Just one glance: The quintessential beauty of romance. Ah the balm of the lovelorn hearts. If the previous story was a let down in terms of the relevance to the theme, this one improves the mood and steers the reader towards remembering what the theme is all about. A sweet, quintessential romantic story, it possesses a strong relationship with the ordinary, albeit real world with just a hint of magic to make it work to be a romance themed story. Warmed the cockles of me heart!
Jilted: where the twist in the tale(s) begins. What would you do were you to be rejected by the one person you've ever loved and betrayed? Vow revenge? Here's a tale with a difference, with a real twist in the end and your reaction will definitely be. Slow clap.
The unseen boundaries of love: This one is downright scary, and talks of the perils of loving too hard, too soon and beyond the measures of sanity. I got the goosebumps reading this story and it left me thinking for a long time. How do we know that those who walk amongst us are 'normal'. Sans any manias, phobias and extreme behaviour hidden away only to arise when a catalyst is activated?
The Library: Sweet, and makes you heave a sigh of relief after the shocker of the previous horror.
Rock my ass!: Anecdotal but leaves you with a happy feeling of "having done the right thing", made a difference and moved on.
The Impasse: A widowers lament and regret. Heavy and depressing. There's romance but the crumbling of it, not the constructing of it.
Mixed exotica goes to the party: Fun, predictable and something which can happen to any one of us when single.
Something about Karen: Scary, mental illnesses and how seemingly normal people get affected, sometimes beyond treatment.
The Affair: The conveniences and perils of workplace originating extra marital affairs. Very few end up converting to publicly adorned commitments. Most? End up like this. Read on.
When you least expect it: My favourite amongst the lot. Coping with loneliness and dealing with cultural bonds. Where does love figure?
Urmila: An extract from the Ramayana, the tale is that of Lakshmana's wife's emotions and preparedness for her lord's return from the 14 year exile.
Blossoms: Sweet, fragrant and the promise of young love.
Widower: Read on to know more. I didn't like the story or the way it was narrated.
Post coital cigarette: This is scary again. Psychopath and a closet one at that, so dealing with one is easy because if we miss the signs, we won't know.
Siddharth: Sad but true. :)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The rating is majorly influenced by a handful stories, which I felt shouldn't bear the brunt of mediocre to blah writing of the remaining ones.
I won't dwell on individual stories, suffice to say that I am glad they started the book with the story that won the first prize in the competition, otherwise there would have been many DNFs amongst the readers.
What is remarkable is that of the hundreds of stories that were sent as pooled of the competition, the ones that make it to the book are from authors from select states of the country. These states are known for producing literary talent, but you can't help but wonder if this has been a conscious effort on the part of the judges or sheer coincidence.
Also, while the stories that have been shortlisted do cover several aspects of love, they also make you question if quality has been compromised for variety.
I simply love each and every of Anuja Chauhan's! And normally am not a very big fan of Short stories but yes! this book has got everything... It covers all issues surrounding the contemporary love stories, right from puppy love, homosexual relations, love as obsession, mercy killing, love as spoilers and love as everything possible! A definite good read!
Collection of short stories with love as prime theme in all its variants, glorious as well as sleazy. These stories were selected by Rupa, the publishers on basis of a contest. 16 in all I think. I am hardly a fan of the short stories format but this one was good. Most stories were predictable but did have the extra zing added. But to call it the atlas of love was a bit of an outreach.
Tightly edited and very visual... this collection of short stories is a great read. It's not cloyingly sweet ... nor is it bitterly tragic... it's just right. Given that the subject matter is Romance in India... this is not an easy ask.
Among the best is "Death of a widower". It's lifelike and nuanced and exactly captures the texture of life in a small town housing colony and deftly serves it up as a rich backdrop to the inner life of the principal protagonist. The potrayal of the process of grief is brilliant and realistic.. and will resonate with anyone who has dealt with death. The masterpiece pf understatement is the description of "Ragini" as ordinary... and those Facebook conversations with a dead soul... are a deliciously ironic touch.
All the stories are well edited - they read "tight" and "smooth"... and the vignettes at the end describing each of the authors bring them to life too. Will look forward to more of the same from Rupa Publications and Anuja.
Love in all forms is what this book talks about. It would leave you charmed, traumatized, scared and even in awe. From reminiscing the loss of love to finally having the courage to own it up, the stories keep you glued to the book.
An Atlas of Love Review: Engaging but not enslaving
Here is my story-by-story review of each of the 16 winning tales.
Story 1 Phoenix Mills (by Aurodeep Nandi) Rating: 5/5 Review: Such a well-crafted story of wit and realism that it sucks you like a vacuum and leaves a void when it spits you out of its chamber at the end. ‘Phoenix Mills’ is about a man, a mall and love found and lost. (This story won the 1st prize in the Rupa Romance Contest).
Story 2 Just One Glance (by Rhiti Bose) 3.5/5 Hard-nosed critics will surely trash this story calling it cliched and a done-to-death teenage romance. But ‘Just One Glance’ is so insanely readable and so incredibly relatable that you will love walking through its pages to relive your own mushy teenage days.
Story 3 Jilted (by Cecile Rischmann) 2.5/5 Okay, though ‘Jilted’ is readable and decently written, it is plain and has nothing extraordinary to offer. Why this story won the Rupa contest baffles me?
Story 4 The Unseen Boundaries of Love (by Debosmita Nandy) 4/5 What apparently looks like another chic lit romance turns out to be brutally intense, powerful and shocking towards the end. The final two pages helped this tale bag the 2nd prize in the Rupa Romance Contest.
Story 5 The Library (by Tarunima Mago) 3.5/5 Fresh story with some nice lines. Makes for a nice read but then nothing unforgettable. ‘The Library’ is engaging but not enslaving.
Story 6 Rock My Ass (by Shoma Chakraborty) 3.5/5 Ordinary hackneyed story but so incredibly well-written.
Story 7 The Impasse (by Aabhishek Patwari) 4/5 A mature story that talks about an aged man who has just lost his wife. Life becomes frighteningly lonely when you are at the fag end of it. ‘The Impasse’ brings plenty of lumps in the throat. One of the better stories of the book!
Story 8 Mixed Erotica Goes to the Party (by Sheila Kumar) 3/5 Writing is good but the story has nothing to offer. Readable throughout, engaging at times, arresting at odd corners but nothing too brilliant to admire.
Story 9 Something about Karen (by Abhishek Mukherjee) 3.5/5 A different kind of romance! Ryan loves Karen. But who is she? The climax may delight some and irk others. Quality of writing is good.
Story 10 The Affair (by Anita Sarkar) 3.5/5 A riveting extramarital affair with the usual do’s and don’ts. The climax was all set for that cheesy melodramatic finish we all love to feed upon. But Anita Sarkar chooses to play her cards differently (and intelligently).
I downloaded this book (through Kindle Unlimited) because I thought it was written by Anuja Chauhan. Actually, she has just edited the anthology, selecting from the entries for a romantic short story contest by Rupa.
I realized my mistake after downloading it, but decided to give it a try anyway. I don't regret reading it (a few of the stories were quite nice), but most of the stories do make it very evident that they were written by non-professionals - whether it's the sentence construction or the way the story is structured or the character development.
Here are short reviews of each of the stories:
Phoenix Mills: I really considered discarding the book after this story. If this was the story that won the first prize, I thought, then the other stories must be really quite terrible. Thankfully I was wrong, but yeah - this was definitely not the best of the stories (not even in the top ten) in the anthology.
Just One Glance: Typical feel-good love story. This is how we wish all our childhood crushes turned out.
Jilted: This could have been a good story, but the entire thing is told as a flashback (and not a well-constructed one at that).
The Unseen Boundaries of Love: This one really knocked the stuffing out of me. The twist at the end is tragic and shocking. I went back again and skimmed through the entire story to figure out where I'd gone wrong with my assumptions.
The Library: Again a cutesy-story like the second one.
Rock My Ass! Not exactly a love story, but an absorbing read nonetheless.
The Impasse: This was a nice peek into a very typical middle-class life.
Mixed Exotica Goes to the Party: Interesting because the characters are not typically ones you meet in most stories.
Something About Karen: A good read, but I felt the story would have read better without the twist at the end? I felt cheated of a happy ending.
The Affair: The title pretty much sums it up. One-dimensional and stereotypical.
When You Least Expect It: I liked this one. This one also had a twist at the end. (Did the contest rules mandate one, considering the sheer number of stories with twists?)
Urmila: Meh. Dunno why this was included at all. Not so much a story as a description of Urmila's emotions when Lakshama comes back home after the end of his exile.
Blossoms: Cute and well-constructed. I had a smile at the end of the story.
Death of a Widower: Hmm... I dunno how I feel about this story, actually.
Post-Coital Cigarette: Scary. Domestic violence and a psychopath.
Siddharth: The opposite of the second story - this is how MOST childhood crushes end.
An Atlas of Love is a compilation of 16 short love stories. From infatuation and puppy love to mature, sensual love and unrequited love, this collection has stories that celebrate love in various forms. ‘The Unseen Boundaries of Love’ just crushed my heart, ‘Post-Coital Cigarette’ ran a chill down my spine and ‘Blossoms’ was like a bright ray of sunshine. These are my personal favorites.
A good collection of Love stories with varied angles. But can't say that all of then we're too good. There were only few tat was really touching. There are a few which made me think why did it make a place in this Anthology. Well, afterall everyone's taste differ. My favorites are The Library, Just one glance, Blossoms, which has were light hearted nd cute and the kind I loved to read, less painful. There are others which really made a gud impact. But otherwise, jus an 'Ok' read!!
Good, simple & short romantic stories. 16 of them. All from various authors. Nothing extraordinary, however you won't get disappointed reading. Good authors in the making. Most of the stories I would like to read more them. My favourite are "The Impasse", "The Unseen Boundaries of Love" & "The Library".
this book was collection of short stories collected from some competition organised by Rupa Publishers.The stories were good in all but I was disappointed by the story which won the first prize since it was not at all deserving.Good timepass but nothing extraordinary
3.5 stars. I feel this is a bouquet (rather than atlas) of stories dealing with non platonic love, selected by Anuja Chauhan from the nominees of Rupa contest for romantic stories. These stories portray a myriad of emotions from. almost platonic comfortable love to love bordering upon destructive obsession with varying shades in between. The protagonists range from early teens in the throes of first love to senior citizens who have to seek approval from their progeny. There are straightforward tales as well as stories with unimaginable twists. On the whole, this bouquet had all shades and types of flora and foliage in it. I am not a great fan of short stories, but this collection was attention holding.