Saturday, January 12, 2013

Review- Winter Evenings by Navtej Sarna

One of my resolutions for the year 2013 is to read as many books as my busy schedule will allow and post the reviews of all the books that I read. The first book that I read in 2013 is ‘Winter Evenings’ by Navtej Sarna. Why did I pick this book? Simply because I liked the title of the book. Yes, I am one of those rare specimens who pick the book simply because they find the book title to be intriguing. But fortunately, this tendency of mine is the reason that I stumbled upon some incredible books from authors less known.

When I saw ‘Winter Evenings’ being put up for Book Review Program in Blogadda, the first image that rushed through my mind was of cold, chilly evenings, me slouched on the couch, wrapped up in warm blankets, feet near the hearth, with the right hand holding an amazing book and the left holding a hot, frothy cocoa drink. Ah, Bliss! It took me less than a minute to express an interest in reviewing the book.

Well, let’s come to the book now, enough of chit chat!

The book is a compilation of 19 short stories that takes us through the landscapes of Geneva, Shimla, Delhi, and Moscow. It’s the story of ordinary men and women with a gamut of emotions thrown in good measures. Guilt, love, greed, loneliness, wrath, passion, fear- all there, but it leaves you asking for more. 

Have you ever tasted a food and felt that there is something missing in the dish but you can’t put a finger on the missing ingredient. That’s what I felt after reading this book. Some stories were amazing, some were good and some were just dreary to read. Somehow I felt that they ended abruptly without giving a meaningful closure. 

However, what I liked in the book is that the author achieved to maintain a melancholic setting through all the 19 stories. A very apt title, but my expectations from the book were different. I would recommend this book to people who like slow-paced books. But for a person who like me, who love twists and turns on every other page, this book was a disappointment. 

Here’s a short outline on the 8 stories that I liked. 

Winter Evenings: Story of 2 men who are forced in each other’s company on cold, wintry evenings even though they can’t stand each other’s sight. 

Raya: An old, dying woman calls up a man and desperately seeks his help to search her lover whom she had met in Russia almost 50 years back. 

Madam Kitty: A man employs the help of a woman to aid his sick mother in running the household, only to find out that the woman is an old, out-of-work whore. 

The Superintendent’s Formula: A good, honest and God-fearing man succumbs to greed when the opportunity presents itself to him.  

A Death in Winter: Story of man who reminisces his dead grandmother’s struggle of how she survived partition and, how the scars of the bloodbath that she witnessed haunted her for years. 

Masterpiece: Story of a painter who struggles to buy paints during wartime. He finally manages to get hold of a widow who gives him the paints used by her husband. But can the man live up to the expectations of the widow? Can he paint the masterpiece?  

Brute: A man, crazily in love with a girl gifts her a German Shepherd pup when he separates from her. The dog named Brute, devoted to the girl, does not allow any man to come near her. But what happens when the girl falls in love with a man and accepts his proposal 

Barrier Beach: A heart-broken man on a despondent vacation meets a girl who recites poems from T.S.Eliot. But what happens when the man comes to know that the girl is nothing but an elegant escort, a high-class prostitute. 

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at . Participate now to get free books!