Dissent is a short story collection that was written for a contest held by Times Of India. For some reason I had gotten it into my head that this was a winning collection that was edited and put together by Deepak Kaul but it isn’t. These are the stories written by Deepak Kaul for each of the prompts provided for the contest.
Now I cannot for the life of my work with a prompt. If you follow my art blog you’ll know that I struggle with prompts. So, when I know that someone has written a whole book of short stories in response to prompts provided, I was very impressed and eager to read it. And I wasn’t disappointed.
I do enjoy short stories, more so recently after rediscovering my love for them, but I won’t consider myself knowledgeable in the greatness of these but i can tell you that a lot of these stories are very enjoyable.
- Dissent : This is a story of the typical evil step mother who comes into the life of father and daughter after the mother’s death. While she isn’t very evil she certainly doesn’t like the girl and takes every opportunity to show her so. I enjoyed this story quite a bit actually, it was Cinderella but with a feminist twist. 3/5
- Hell’s angel : follows a girl sitting and sipping on a coffee in a starbucks with a bloody knife for company. It shocks the reader and relaxes them with the twisty end. I adored this. 4/5
- All in is set in an airport where the main character is following someone into a bathroom. This was written really with with an air of tension throughout. I can’t say much about this because it’ll give away the story but you’ll enjoy the end here as well. 3/5
- L.C.A follows an ageing starlet as she acts out a role she never would have chosen before. We see what happens to these beauties after their fame runs out and how their life is completely different. I didn’t enjoy this as much so 2/5
- Mirage follows a government employee as she witness a scandal unfold. How it affects her life and her marriage. But not in it’s entirety. This was interesting as well but again, not remarkable. 3/5
- Taboo is a story about a threesome of sorts. Two girls and a boy and their tug of war while they fight emotions and each other. It’s Betty and Veronica with a taboo twice. I gave this 4/5
- Void is about losing your college sweetheart and the feelings that overpower us when we see them again. It was written simplistically without much insight into what happened and I think that’s what made this work. We are left wondering why the narrator ended their relationship with their love if things were perfect. 3/5
- Queen Of Harts is about a girl with a heart related deformity and how she deals with loss while claiming to feel twice the emotions. this was interesting. I did think it would have been executed better but the theory was absolutely brilliant. 3/5
- Love Jihad was a story with a title to shock. You expect something different and terrifying but it just falls flat on it’s face. I didn’t enjoy this at all because the title doesn’t work with the actual story. 1/5
- Karma Agni is mythology based. About a husband gone to war and a wife waiting patiently for him at home knowing fully well that he won’t return. While this was a well told story it really didn’t work with the rest of the collection. So 2/5
- How Blue is my sapphire was a story about war and loss. If follows a family that leaves their home because of war and loses everything they had worked towards. It was actually pretty dissatisfying. While I was ok with the story it felt like it wasn’t very inspired and didn’t work with the rest of the theme.
Overall I rate this at 3/5 stars. It was certainly enjoyable but not a must read. I’d recommend this for people who aren’t really used to short stories and want to get into them. Not for short story veterans.
The Times of India ran a short story contest between July, 2015 and May, 2016. Eleven of India’s best selling authors were requested to provide a prompt (one each month) based on which a short story was to be submitted. This short story collection comprises the authors’ submission for each prompt. The short stories submitted cover a range of genres: historical fiction, drama, humour, relationships, current affairs. The author in some instances has tried to give an innovative twist to the prompts, trying to lead the short story away from the direction the prompts indicate.
Buy on Amazon India.
I received this as part of the Writers Melon book review program. Learn more about it here.