Suspended Animation – the state of being alive, yet not quite; a condition where life stands still, despite the blood coursing through our veins.
This collection of 22 stories is about people like us, scattered across the length and breadth of the world, whose lives are in suspended animation. Set in locations as diverse as Puerto Galera and Manila in the Philippines, Loch Inverness in Scotland and Bangalore, Mumbai and Kerala in India,
‘Suspended Animation’ is all about those of us for whom waiting is a constant reality of life.
Shweta Ganesh Kumar is a writer, blogger and creator of the modern Indian parenting blog ‘The Times Of Amma’,and 'Inkspire' - the digital platform for aspiring Indian writers. She was awarded the prestigious UN Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity in the Blog – Web Category for 2017 for my article, "WhyThe Phrase "Boys Will Be Boys" Is Damaging Our Sons" published in Women's Web. She was featured on the BBC World Service's award-winning show 'Conversations' to talk about online parenting communities and Indian Mom Blogging. Shweta has written multiple fiction books for adults, working with publishing houses like Srishti Books and Good Times Books. Her children’s book ‘The Tiffin Gang’ for Pratham Books was featured in the New York Public Library's World Literature Festival in April 2021. Shweta's latest book for Pratham Books 'At Home', focused on children living through the pandemic and was featured in Dr. Bhau Daji Lad museum's first online session for children at home. She is based in New York City where she lives with her husband, children and dog.
Suspended Animation is a collection of 22 short stories of ordinary folks and their lives where constant waiting is a reality of life. The stories are set in places like Loch Inverness in Scotland, Puerto Galera and Manila in the Philippines, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kerala.
All the 22 stories in this book, are based on the unifying theme of waiting. Shweta Ganesh Kumar wonderfully depicts the pangs of frustration created by the anticipation brought about by the suspended time. The lives of ordinary people, whom we can relate to, are narrated realistically in the form of these short stories.
The first story, The Matrimonial Clock, was something that I could perfectly understand as I have been through the same gamut of emotions like Tara, the thirty-six year old protagonist of the story went through. I couldn’t keep aside the book after reading this first story. The issue of global warming is also touched upon in an interesting manner in one of the stories.
The stories are short, crisp, and simple yet interesting and leaves the reader wanting to know more of what happens beyond the suspended time. This book is a compelling read and I must say, this is the best collection of short stories that I have read. I would recommend this to all the readers.
The stories in this collection highlight ordinary folks facing every day problems. While mostly stories about Indian folks, and I appreciated the look into lives different from my own, it also shows how similar we are as well.
This book leaves you wanting more even after 22 stories. Writing 22 stories around a single theme of waiting and making them all stand out distinctly is no mean task. And the writer accomplishes it with flying colors surprising me often in this simple but sweet collection. A couple of stories like “Ginger Garlic Memories” feel a little short but the rest are vivid descriptions of life in waiting. One of the best I have read in recent times.
Ive read Shwetha's earlier books and I was eager to read her short stories. This is a good collection of stuff that happens to ordinary folks, like you and me and focuses on the never-ending waiting that happens in each of our lives. I found 22 shorts a bit long only coz the attention needed to be shifted quickly, but I guess that happens with most short stories collection. Some were gripping more than some, but it makes for a quick simple read and the casualness of it all is what makes the book worth picking up.
Suspended Animation is simply a fantastic collection of shorts with some real tearjerkers. I was deeply moved by the story of a cabbie hoping to run into an acquaintance, puts the things we take for granted in perspective. The story of two beggars is heart wrenching and so are some others. What starts out as a slow and laid back narrative soon picks speed and you find stories of increasing complexity. The language is simple and the twists are clever but not in your face and that makes the stories more relatable and accepted.
The Story about the LochNess monster sums it up for me. That someone could put a simple and innocent looking theme and connect it to an urban myth is commendable and it shows the author’s creativity. In fact all stories involving animals are beautifully written and give a unique look into waiting. The collection is fresh in approach and sweet and nice. I did not get how the theme of suspended animation fit some of the stories but I am in suspended animation for the next collection.
One of the best short story collections I have read and definitely the best by a single author. 22 short stories on one theme and there was never a dull moment. I loved the references to Kerala and could see the connections and even the mood of the place well shown. The stories are mostly emotional so I would have liked some more funny or comic pieces but apart from that the collection rocks. I even read a few stories twice.
Spread across the length and breadth of the world from places like Scotland to Bangalore, to the Phillipines, these 22 short stories capture human emotions of anticipation, fear of the unknown, the tingle of expectancy or plain resignation to fate.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I read first two of the short stories. They are extremely short with little development plot or character as a result and references to Indian specific items that may have helped me to feel more for the stories if I knew what they were. But the key issue is that stores are predictable, trite and uninspiring - all the worse for the feeling get that they are intended to be poignant and ironic commentary on the human condition. That said, with the right material, this author could be quite good as j did like the writing style.
A really great collection of stories with some memorable characters and some very familiar situations. Some of the characters like the schoolgirl and the nosy neighbour have been portrayed so realistically that you feel you known them from before. The funny piece on global warming and the one about the politician’s visit to the village are very smart writings. I will recommend it as a very good buy.