Review of “Thirteen Kinds of Love” by Soumya Bhattacharya

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Title: Thirteen Kinds of Love

Author: Soumya Bhattacharya

Publisher: Harper Collins India

Publication Date: 25 September 2019

Genre: Fiction; Short Stories

Pages: 189

Purchase Link: Amazon

The Gypsy Goddess

I’m a sucker for a good love story! So, when Blogchatter gave me a choice between three books to review, I picked the one by Soumya Bhattacharya entitled “Thirteen Kinds of Love” published by Harper Collins India. Read on to know if this anthology of short stories, lives up to the mark.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Soumya Bhattacharya is the Managing Editor of Hindustan Times and a published novelist. He has five critically-acclaimed works to his name, across genres of fiction, non-fiction and memoir. He has written for established platforms like the “New York Times”, “Guardian”, “Independent”, “Sydney Morning Herald”, “Granta”, as well as contributed to several anthologies published in India and abroad.

THE PLOT:

The book is a collection of thirteen short stories, based on the lives of residents of different flats in a posh apartment complex named Imperial Heights in Bandra, Mumbai. Though their lives are entwined, each episode explores varying sides of the 4-5 unique story lines. They are written as separate short stories to be read independently.

The stories are meant to show numerous facets of love, but in reality, go far beyond to include themes of anxiety, greed, poverty, adultery and even death.

THE COMMENTARY:

Having read a string of average and disappointing books by Indian authors in recent times, Bhattacharya’s “Thirteen Kinds of Love” felt like a breath of fresh air to me. His vocabulary is impressive, grammar faultless, character building thoughtful, and plot lines well-constructed. He successfully captures and retains the reader’s interest.

Bhattacharya’s real strength as an author lies in his characters. He creates flawed and fragile people that are easy to connect with, despite the humdrum nature of their stories. I say humdrum, for there is nothing novel about a driver’s envy of his employer’s lifestyle; the infidelity of a rich businessman that frequently travels abroad; the sudden attraction a widow feels for her new neighbour; the untimely death of an anxiety-ridden inveterate corporate climber. These stories have been told numerous times before, yet Bhattacharya breathes life into them through his well-etched protagonists.

A few of the stories are a tad dramatic and could have been dispensed with, such as the insinuated rape of a young girl. In my opinion, the excessive melodrama doesn’t fit with the tone of the other stories.

Overall, I was most impressed with Bhattacharya’s creativity. He has penned thirteen stories, most of them numbering thirteen pages. Instead of grouping connected stories together, he has arranged them in a random sequence, which makes them more interesting. He is a talented and gifted writer, and I particularly enjoyed his take on the flurry of sub-standard writers publishing (or printing!) books these days, mentioned in one of the stories. Echoing his thoughts, I feel that it takes a lot more than language skills to write well- one must have creative ability as well. Bhattacharya has plenty of that.

THE VERDICT:

The story lines are predictable and lack the ingenuity that could have made this a great book, but still make for easy and pleasurable reading. I recommend this book to people who appreciate good writing, and enjoy reading works of fiction set in modern Indian urban landscapes. The short length and easy readability of the stories will appeal to` bibliophiles constantly on the move.

Rating: 4/5

Buy a copy of Soumya Bhattacharya’s “Thirteen Kinds of Love” on Amazon by clicking here

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Reviewed as part of the Blogchatter book review program

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*I’d like to thank Blogchatter and Harper Collins India for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The post is not sponsored, but it contains affiliate links. When you purchase a copy of the book through my link, I earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Please support my blog by purchasing through my link!

**Copyright in all pictures and content belongs to nooranandchawla and cannot be republished or repurposed without permission from the author. As I am a copyright lawyer by profession, infringement of any kind will invite strict legal action.

67 comments

  1. I love your reviews and sometimes I just read it for the eloquence. Its a treat to read new love stories. I am yet to start my reading for this year and this looks like a good book to start since I am not able to take out time

  2. Wow maybe I should start with this kind of book coz the novels are really hard to read with kids interrupting you all the time. Sounds interesting too

  3. first of all, the name itself is so intriguing, how can one resist this one…the verdict contradicted my opinion but still gotta read as I am always looking for some good writing for inspiration

  4. I always enjoy when fiction talks about flawed characters. It feels much real. This book may not have nothing new to offer but just for its easy storytelling I may pick it up.

  5. Thanks for the honest review about the book. This book looks interesting. I really like the cover page of the book which defines everything will definitely going to read this book.

  6. Hey, Bandra Mumbai? Thata where I recide. I am getting this book for sure. I prefer short stories as they grab your attention and this one already has my heart pounding.

  7. Interesting title of the book! It led me to believe it has stories of different kinds of love but the review seems to suggest that these are all romantic love stories. Your suggestion that they may be predictable is also a bit of a dampener.

  8. I would love to read this book specially because the form is short stories and my book of short stories has recently been published too. The book sounds interesting and I would check it for sure

  9. I am glad that you find a good read after a period of disappointment, the plot and title of book really sounds interesting to me, thanks for sharing detail and honest review, will check out this for sure,

  10. I am a sucker for love stories and your review is so tempting that i am going to order one now. Short stories these days have become so interesting.Attention span has decreased and short stories are catching on.

  11. Your review is so thorough! I have a lot to learn from you! I agree totally that many of the recent Indian authored books are mediocre. I’m looking forward to grabbing a copy of this book now after your assurance that it’s good!

  12. Being not an avid reader this seems a perfect book for me…i love to read short stories as they are easy to read and not much time consuming. Thanks for suggesting this book.

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