Book Review: Tales of Sunshine
Author: Sundari Venkatraman
Published by: Flaming Sun
Stars: Three and a half
Author Sundari Venkatraman experiments with the unique genre of short stories which is all about the human stories, life’s battles and a world makes one’s oyster. It’s the tales of struggle, hopes and the lemons thrown by life at us. The stories are distinct from each other and painted with a gentle touch, the brush stroking the emotions in a vivid manner. The language is simple in depicting lives where the human soul is not only vibrant but comes alive in all its forms. The collection is a quick and smart read that will leave a lasting impression in nurturing human understand, passion and it certainly pays to be true to the self.
TALES OF SUNSHINE is a collection of ten short stories that brings hope. It’s all about the struggles, friendship, hope, promise, belief and breaking free. After all, life is all about making choices and compassion never harms.
In ‘The Ray of Sunshine’, Raj faces a dilemma where he has to take a decision but has to face his inner demons where he is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. The character has been sketched in a clear manner and the story addresses job losses and how it affects families. The story is sensitive and touches the human heart.
‘A Promise Given’ takes us in the world of Aparna and Sachin with friendship, drugs and treachery as the backdrop. It’s all about finding ourselves in a friend and the story will bring tears to your eyes. It is tragic and will leave a mark on your heart for it is built on sadness and hope, at the same time. I particularly liked the surprise element in the end.
‘In Life Goes out of Control’, Sundari Venkatraman touches the subject of conflict, parental ego and what we seek from life. There is a daughter who takes the call in her life and the story echoes tales of obsession with academic streams where the conflict between passion and ego has been well addressed. It’s all about the battle one faces in life as a lone child who ultimately gets the last laugh by standing her ground.
The theme of passion finds echo in ‘Breaking Free From the Mould’ with a nagging grand ma who can’t see her grandson breaking free on his own terms. There are no evil parents but the way Sundari Venkatraman twist and spin the story in a light manner makes it a winner. The generation gap has been done in a light manner in spite of tension in the plot.
In ‘Rakesh Nath’s Recovery’, the unexplained phenomena in life is depicted in the trial of human life which flows easily till the last moment which makes us realize the character coming back from the dead. I have heard such human stories and the author makes it so real, true to life. She adds an edge to spookiness in all its manifested form, real and alive.
The story, ‘Until Death us do Part’ is a tale of revenge plotted in a smart manner where sheer desperation can drive us to the wall where no hope is left and it’s only a miracle that saves us from the jaws of death. The message Sundari Venkatraman sends is strong and it’s sheer Karma that cheats death.
The grandfather, grandson and son trio in ‘Is Grandpa Home?’ is beautifully woven with a heart capable of loving and no power on earth can stop it. The story breaks our heart and brings sadness when the grandfather faces hurt and pain but, ultimately, happy ending is the sweetest revenge for the readers.
There are stories like ‘Daydreaming Mercenary’, ‘The Elephant in the Room’ and ‘Exam Fever’, treated in a sensitive manner and aptly addresses life in all its forms and subtleties that shows that life is not what it seems to be, expressing nuances that appearances can be tricky, emotions fickle and our judgements are not flawless. There are surprise elements that warm the heart in depicting the triumph of humanity above everything.
Sundari Venkatraman is a terrific story-teller whose writing captivates us and she knows her readers’ pulse. However, I feel that few stories could have been better explored by extending the length to lend nuances or conflicting shades to the characters. Of course, that doesn’t take away the credibility of ‘Tales of Sunshine.’
The collection of short stories by Sundari Venkatraman is truly tales of sunshine that speaks the language of love and humanity in aesthetic way. Not to be missed. Go and grab your copy and let the sun shine in your life.
You can grab your copy on Amazon.