04 December, 2020

Li'l Charmers

Such is the dexterity with which Basu writes that the 12 separate stories meld together to become a book of evocation.

Li'l Charmers
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
"She sent him kites." Thus begins the title story from Kunal Basu’s short fiction collection. It has been a long time since I have read an opening line laden with such a wealth of subtexts—yearning; separation; loss; secret lives. In many ways this line also perhaps embodies the leitmotif of the collection: the hidden and the covert.

In story after story, secrets underlie the foundation of the telling. The storyline and the characters owe their genesis to that which lies cloaked from the rest of the world. So if it is a tumour in one, it is a past life in another; a bastard child in yet another...and such is the dexterity with which Basu writes that the 12 separate stories meld together to become a book of evocation.

Sure, some stories work better than the others. As in any collection, there are stories that flag; characters that fail to work. And so if stories such as Snake Charmer and Lenin’s Cafe totter precariously; the sheer power and muscle of Long Live Imelda Marcos and The Accountant make up more...

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