Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Peacock Feather

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Name of the book: The Peacock Feather

Authors: Sunil Kapoor and Sudhir Kapoor

Publisher: Rupa Publications India Pvt. Ltd 2017
ISBN 978-81-291-4459-1

Genre: Fiction

Also available as an e-book

Price: Rs. 395

Pages: 195

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” ― Gilda Radner

Delicious ambiguity is what this book is about – a slice of life itself. With ten vivid short stories to grip the reader from the very first page, ‘The Peacock Feather’ has an interesting storyline. Written by a pair of monozygotic twins, their various interactions with people from all walks of life and working as chartered accountants and lawyers primarily formed the genesis of this book as per them.

The first thing however, that attracts the reader to this book is its artistic cover with the picture of a peacock flaunting its feathers. The beautiful texture and the merging of the white with yellow apart from the rich hue of blue is surely a piece of art for those with an eye for detail.

The stories are strikingly similar to the ones that we hear happening all around us. And yet, there is something about them – the way the authors have narrated the story, the plot and the setting—that make the stories seem fresh and subtly fragranced… the fragrance of an old world replete with friendships that stood the test of time during the tribulations of India’s partition; the charm of pre-digital romance; the determination of a Britisher to help Indians make their lives easier at the cost of his financial security and life and so much more. The stories range from bittersweet tales of love (‘The Peacock Feather’, ‘Deceitful Paramour’, ‘Nightmare in London’), rags-to-riches tale (‘The Gutka King’) to ‘A Misplaced Draft’ where the evils of the dowry system have been addressed. It depicts the true nature of human beings with all their flaws and nuances.

A book of short stories is at times not preferred by those who love reading novels. But with this book, those readers can veer into a world where they have a range of situations to delve into. With the authors’ simplicity and depth, as a result of their immense efforts, this book is a smooth-sailing journey despite the highs and lows that it offers.

After reading the book, I tried re-living the set-ups that I had found myself in while reading it. I couldn’t pinpoint one story that I liked most as all the ten of them have something to offer to the reader. Often, one tends to forget the story that the title holds as one looks at the index, even after relishing the entire book. However, here it was different. The titles took me back to the different worlds I had been to.

Often, we delve into worlds that are different from our own and wonder if it is even possible once we get back to the reality. However, here the authors have taken up real-life situations and built their tales around them. Fascinating as they are, they also render the reader speechless at the simplicity of the choice of words and the magnetic appeal they offer from the very first page of each new story.

This book can be read at leisure and be rest assured to traverse different eras in the comfort of your own book-reading nook.

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