When we imagine and create something, we need to stick close to reality, to life. But life is not a creation of the human mind hence it doesn’t follow a set path or rules. It has its own ways to surprise us by strange twists and turn of events which are not congenial to the societal doctrines. Geetashree Chatterjee in her debut novel,
A Basketful of Lies, has regaled us with fifteen such short stories that reflect life in a different way.
I know Geetashree as a co-blogger and, I’m quite familiar with her writing style. Her choice of words– inimitable, her plots– effortlessly subtle and her characters– known faces in the crowd. In this book, sans one story, The Virgin White, all her characters belong to the hoi polloi. Still, they seem interesting, their mundane activities, like the eye of a cyclone, develop apparently calm but curious consequences.
The first story, The Paint Brush, revolves around the childhood desires of a woman who wants to create beautiful paintings. Her wish gets granted but in a mysterious way. Through this simple plot, Geetashree has played with the psyche of the woman with great nuances.
In Maamone, we meet the lady whom or rather, whose ilk we perhaps all know but who still is unknown to us. Here, I find “silence” the protagonist. Silence, in fact, is immensely loquacious in a couple of more stories– Miles Before A Promise and Dark is the Devil. Silence, in all of them, plays a pivotal role and, makes the reader encumbered with an eerie restlessness. The end seems to be the beginning. This playing with reader’s mind continues in Operation Dead Rat where all of a sudden, the blow comes and hits hard.
My personal favourites among the fifteen stories are When It Is Too Dark, which I find almost like poetry written in a stream of consciousness style; The Linguist, which makes me smile when Shamlee says to the narrator, “you are the one who did not give in to moments of schadenfreude when I was left heartbroken” and Operation Dead Rat. The last two stories are comparatively long and, I think the protagonists there demand a little more space for character development.
The stories, however, dwell over the reader’s mind once they are finished and, there lies Geetashree’s excellence. A unified impression of temper, tone, colour, and effect along with timely conflict in the plot and then perfect climactic cadence, these make A Basketful of Lies an enjoyable read for those who love nice, mature literary works. I wish to read more from the author in the future.
Meet the Author: Her Blog
Buy the Book: Amazon