Book Review: Winter Evenings - Nostalgic Reading for Everyone!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

Title:Winter Evenings
Language: English
Author: Navtej Sarna
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher: Rupa Publications (2012)
ISBN - 10: 812912047X
ISBN-13: 9788129120472
Binding: Hardcover
Price: Rs. 350 (Buy from Flipkart for Rs.301)
Pages: 148

Synopsis:
A Collection of beautifully woven and intricate short stories that need not necessarily be fiction, "Winter Stories" by Navtej Sarna is a wonderful book to read by a warm fireplace on a cold winter evening! The narrative is crisp and uncomplicated and makes for easy reading without much jargon!t

Detailed Review:  A Collection of 19 short stories that are not interlinked and neither do all carry any message, this book is beautifully written to capture the angst and nostalgia that usually sets in during the winter! The author Navtej Sarna draws on his vast experience in bureaucratic circles and trips abroad to weave a collection of stories, some of which, have been published in various newspapers and magazines over the years.

The narrative is free flowing and keeps the reader engrossed from beginning to end. The language is simple, crisp and lucid and at no time does the reader feel the need to put down the book because he is unable to follow the narrative. The reader will be taken into the wintry landscapes in which the stories are set, such is the strength of the written word.



The stories remind me of the Doordarshan serial - Ek Kahani which had similarly poignant stories in serialised format and which took a significant time of my television viewing during my early childhood!

Story:  TTwo men stuck in a small mountain town develop an unlikely and unspoken friendship; a punctilious bureaucrat becomes briefly reckless at the end of his career; a high- class prostitute on vacation reads The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock to a man recovering from the end of a long affair; the ghosts of Partition return in 1984 to destroy the equilibrium of a tough Sikh matriarch; an ageing widow finds freedom and peace in poetry. In clean, understated prose Navtej Sarnas stories take us through the landscapes of Moscow, Geneva, Shimla, Paris, Delhi and Bombay, where everyday people find or lose their way in life quietly, almost by accident.

 Positives:

  1. The biggest positive is the easy language which will keep the reader engrossed from start to finish.
  2. The author seems has put in written word his experiences and thoughts during his service with the Indian Diplomatic Bureau.
  3. This book reminds me of the old Hindi serial Ek Kahani that used to be aired on Doordarshan during Sunday evenings and has many angst driven poignant stories that take the reader back to the golden days of life without technology!
Negatives: None that I can think of except may be the price of the book.
    Who will enjoy this? - Everyone!!

    Buy or Don’t Buy? –  Definite buy from me. Flipkart at the moment is even giving a Rs.50  discount on the cover price.


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