I am a big pile of love these days. I wonder if it’s the sense of unencumbered freedom or if it’s that time of the year when one takes stock and counts their blessings. Love for sure has been the most prominent theme of 2012 for me. Ok before I digress
Love stories #1 to 14 by Annie Zaidi is the book that I fell in love with instantly. Zaidi is an author who enchants me with her craft and her storytelling prowess. I have been following her closely since she wrote a story for the book called Mumbai Noir.
Now about the book
A compilation of stories where the central character is love playing both the protagonist and the antagonist mostly. It’s not about individuals, their stories or their lives. It’s about love and its manifestation in its platonic, obsessive, unrequited, unattainable, complicated, and unpredictable forms. Love, the powerful emotion which takes over our lives and takes a life of its own with the headiness of attraction and the complex cocktail of chemicals overtaking our rational selves. But the quest begins, when the emotion demands reciprocation and most of the times is followed by messy, murkier, not so happy endings, deep pain and anguish. Zaidi manages to weave every nuance of this overwhelming emotion into stories that one can relate to.
What sets the book apart is that through the fourteen stories, Zaidi covers the entire social spectrum and the complexities that accompany love in a conventional society. whether it’s the quirks of an understanding yet aged neighbour dealing with a passive aggressive wife or a husband dealing with his wife’s post partum depression, or the one being trapped in a loveless relationship, or the pain of a mother watching her daughter trapped in a not so fulfilling relationship, or two servants trying to build their lives together in a big city with their illusions of wealth and security.
There are some stories where in I could not relate to the story like the love story# 10(The one that came announced). Maybe it will resonate with me in time. But the ones that absolutely blew me away were the ones where Zaidi draws the parallel of a girl trapped in a futureless relationship and a gecko trapped in a bucket of water. That was imagination and correlation in its topmost form. (love story #9-The one that climbed out of a bucket). Another worthy mention is (love story #11-The one with enough insurance). Stories of warmth, passion, and pain some painting a vivid picture, some left to the reader’s imagination with her flawless writing.
I loved the illustration of the burnt matchsticks on the book cover. It was an apt metaphor to describe the all consuming love in the stories. And the haphazard numbering of the stories, wonder if it is by choice, but the detail of scrambling the numbers of the stories in no particular order made a lot of sense to me.
Inspite of the display of pain and anguish, the book does not fill you with cynicism, it left me with a deeper understanding of this powerful and heady feeling and wanting more of it. Like I always said,I have a thing for twisted love stories and I believe that if it does not hurt, then maybe its not love. And if even it hurts, sometimes in the end it doesn’t even matter ( so true, thanks Linkin park)
Please do buy for it’s a must read for everyone who has ever loved.