BOOK REVIEW: ‘AFSAANE- A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES’ BY AMEYA BONDRE

A gif of a girl with books on top of her head with the text Always be Learning

Hello Bookdragons!

I know I have been so inconsistent with my posts lately but as I am trying to heal, I have decided to take it slow. I have a few blog tours lined up and a few blog posts which are going to be very personal. I have also started reading two books simultaneously but I am nowhere close to my usual reading speed. I also have received a few ARCs and Finished copies which I need to review and I am trying to catch up on the pending ones as well. So, all in all, I am a mess! I picked up Ken Follett’s The Evening and Morning and Kate Mosse’s The Burning Chambers for the Historical Readathon which is organised by Pan Macmillan India. Anyways, while we are on the subject of reading, what have you guys been reading this month? Let me know in the comments down below 😊💖

For today’s post, I am once again reviewing a book that I have recently read. It’s a collection of short stories titled Afsaane and is written by Ameya Bondre. I don’t usually read short stories but ever since I have been on a blogging hiatus, I have been craving some light easy books to read and Afsaane seemed to be the right fit.

A sky-blue paper bird glued to a mirror. A handmade book on music to be gifted. A pair of mud-brown tea cups without handles. A shelf to hoard dying memories. A little home tucked away in a remote village. A haunting voice after boarding an empty bus… The images on the cover belong to people whose stories are packed in this book: A man who meets his lost friend in a new world. A seeker who resists everyone to reach an unwanted place. Lovers that separate, only to find some hope. A failed artist who finds another voice. A new entrant in a home who creates turmoil. A cheated girl who makes a desperate call. A shattered man who pegs on a sudden dreamy trip. With eleven stories of unrequited love, hope, acceptance, heart breaks or just needs, ‘Afsaane’ will tug at your heartstrings and open windows to people that experience unusual situations in far too usual lives.

Afsaane, the title in itself sounds beautiful but my curious self wanted to know what Bondre meant by it when he titled the book. After researching on the web, I found that it is an Urdu word and Bondre says that it means “tales, or fiction or romance”. So, the title is pretty straightforward as this book is a collection of short stories and it fits perfectly. Speaking of the cover, it gives a hint of the minimalistic approach that the author had chosen to use throughout the book. The cover also plays a significant role in indicating the themes. Now, how creative is that! Bondre has selectively chosen 11 stories out of 14 to include in this book. Short stories give writers the ability to explore different themes and that is exactly what Ameya Bondre has done in Afsaane. Each story is crafted with a central theme in mind and it gets highlighted throughout that particular story. The characters don’t play much of an important role other than reinforcing the themes through their actions.

Afsaane, as a collection of short stories, serves its purpose of connecting the readers to the quotidian life mired with all the minute details that we often tend to miss out on while being consumed by the rat race and monotony of everyday life.

If you know me, I am not a big fan of short stories because the stories always feel incomplete or as if they lack something but Afsaane was quite different and the reason why I finished reading this book in two days! There are 11 different short stories where we find a diverse range of characters navigating through their lives while there’s a central theme at play, such as, divorce, adoption, infidelity, friendship, love, migration, addiction, loss, hope. The simplicity of the stories give the opportunity to the characters to truly shine as flesh and blood humans. They felt like real humans with valid emotions and these emotions which were displayed by the characters resulted in my ability to connect with them. I also felt like the open endings to the stories will allow us readers to draw our own interpretations and think about possible endings. Whenever I read books with open endings, I always think about how it is a clever way for the authors to distance themselves from the narrative and allow themselves to retreat back into a “safe space” while lending over the reins to the readers and letting them decide what to make of the story. Yes, I know, I am a bit cynical. But of course, I don’t believe that was Bondre’s intention.

ALSO READ: BOOK REVIEW OF UNSAID BY ASMITA RAJIV

Afsaane utilizes a Third-Person Omniscient point of view but the author has also chosen to write a few of the stories in First-Person. So, there is no fixed point of view from which one could analyze the stories and although I wasn’t all that impressed with this variation in the POVs but I didn’t mind it either. I have to say although the simplistic style had it’s benefits, it also had it’s disadvantages. There’s no doubt that Ameya Bondre is a great storyteller but if I were to talk about the writing style, I would say it could have been improved. While some stories had dialogues, others had more descriptive paragraphs than dialogues. I had a few favourites out of the eleven stories but I liked A Healthy Home the best.

Poesy In Chrysalis

The best thing that I liked about the book is its diverse range of characters and the themes which were relevant to the modern times we are living in. As I have already said it before, even though I don’t like to read short stories that often because I just can’t connect to the characters, I did enjoy reading Afsaane. It was thought-provoking and fit rightly into my mood. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a light and easy collection of short stories with relevant themes of the contemporary world.

Get yourself a copy from Amazon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ameya is the author of “Afsaane”, a collection of short stories on relationships, hope, conflict and acceptance. Afsaane is Ameya’s debut book, first drafted in 2017 and it has been receiving rave reviews. Ameya lives in Mumbai and his writing has been featured on several platforms such as,
Mumbai LiveCafe Dissensus (New York City/India)Visual Verse (London/Berlin)The Sunflower CollectiveInkspire [Issue-5]Delhi WirePune Mirrorthe Bookish ElfOxford Bookstore (New Delhi), and it has received a narration via BookMyShow. That apart, Ameya is also a trained physician (KEM Hospital, Mumbai) and a healthcare researcher with honours from Johns Hopkins University (alumnus), MIT and TEDx, and several research publications.

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Sohinee Reads and Reviews

2 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: ‘AFSAANE- A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES’ BY AMEYA BONDRE

  1. Great post! I completely empathize with being a mess because that’s basically me all the time. It’s always a nice break to read a book that requires less brain power like a light-read, novella, or anthology.

    Like

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