Title: Life in Words
Author: Anuj Arjun
Total Number of Pages: 148
Publication Date: 1st January 2017
Price for Paperback: INR 150
Review by Sohinee Dey
Life in Words penned by Mr. Anuj Arjun is a collection of short stories, concentrating on different themes ranging from the ill-treatment of women in the medevial years to slugfest to romancing a “Begum Sahiba” any many more. The book is divided into 29 short independent chapters; some of them concluding with a moral. Each of them were very short and I was able to finish them quickly.
Overall, the concept of the book and crafting each story on different themes was really noteworthy but somewhere the book failed to compel me nor was I satisfied after I put down the book. I felt something was missing.
For instance, the people who are not a native speaker of the Hindi language or a person who doesn’t understand Hindi at all will find it difficult to understand some of the dialogues in the chapter titled “Begum Sahiba”. Introducing hindi terms out of the blue and giving no translation to them was not so good of an idea.
The narration was good except for the sudden changes in the tense. At times, the author was narrating a chapter in the past tense, then after a few pages, it shifted to present tense. I noticed that there were some misuse in phrasal verbs. Also, some sentences were more of fragments and had lower inclination towards forming meaningful sentences. In case of fragments, a semi-colon always comes to the rescue, but the author didn’t introduce that particular punctuation mark in his narration. In some chapters, such as in the chapter titled “Life in the Ring”, there were many sentences where the subject-verb agreement rule was not followed which made the sentence look messed up failing to give any proper meaning (being an editor helps in spotting such mistakes!). If the author had prevented such mistakes, the stories would have bloomed more properly.
Now coming on to grammar, I am really sorry to say this but the grammatical errors didn’t go unnoticed by me. There were mistakes in verbs; some spelling errors were also spotted by me. Maybe someday, I’ll pick a book by an Indian author and I wouldn’t have to cross my path with grammar glitches. Until then, the search is on!
Oh, I forgot to discuss about the cover! Frankly, the book could have done with a better cover and a title. The cover was “okayish” but I don’t think it holds any relevance to the contents of the book. As for the title, Life in Words seems to be a very plain and bland title. I like titles which are catchy enough to hold a reader’s attention. This was not one of them.
The language was very simple and easily understandable. But the sentence structuring needed some work. Maybe if the book was edited and proofread properly, it would have been a great and interesting read as the themes were what I loved the most. To write a polished book, having a good concept behind writing the chapters and coming up with different themes are not enough, plotting it well with good language and proper grammar is essential and are important towards offering an interesting and compelling read to the readers.
My final verdict—
The book is neither too good neither fails miserably. It stands somewhere in-between these two limits. It can be considered as a one-time read. It is a very light read and can be finished in one sitting. Only if the errors and glitches could have been excluded, the book would have stood out proudly. But this edition was not the best. If the author ever thinks of getting it edited again, maybe the second edition will see the face of happy readers! There is a definite scope for improvement.
Since it is a very light read and can be finished in one sitting, there is no harm in giving it a try.
I’ll give this book 3 stars out of 5.
Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought of the book (if you have read) and of my review in the comments section 😊.
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