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Short stories win the weekend bookshelf (IANS Books this Week)

India,Art/Culture/Books, Sat, 08 Dec 2012 IANS

Short stories are the mood of the day. Crisp, lyrical and powerful - each story is a creative exercise in the art of the narrative. Browse with IANS...

1.Book: "Good Indian Girls"; Written by Ranbir Singh Sidhu (Anthology); Published by Harper Collins-India; Price: Rs.350

A lower-rung drunken Indian diplomat in Africa finds himself mysteriously transferred to the consulate of San Francisco where everyone thinks he is a great and undiscovered Urdu poet.

An anthropological expedition searching for early human fossils in Ethiopia goes disastrously wrong and the leader begins to search madly for the very first sounds ever made by humans.

Stories out of the box fill up Sidhu's anthology of short stories that craft extraordinary tales out of ordinary realities. It is a treat.

2.Book: "Love Stories - 1 to 14"; Written by Annie Zaidi (Anthology of Short Stories); Published by Harper Collins India; Price: Rs.350

Curious villagers stare at the shameless man and woman whose fingers were around each other's hair and whose faces were glowing like warm wax in the late afternoon. But the villagers walked away after sometime because it was unbearable to look at the lovers any longer.

A woman who does not let the shadow of death disrupt her love life and another who falls in love with a dead police officer, a devoted wife who steps out from narcotics anonymous meetings, friends whom should have been lovers, a woman who offers all her pent up love to a railway announcers' voice - the stories explore love in the most unexpected of places from among the heap, to the mundane and the bizarre.

3.Book: "Winter Evenings"; Written by Navtej Sarna; Published by Rupa & Co; Price: Rs.350

A planter crashes his new car and is injected morphine by a local lassie, a novice of a nurse, at the plantation hospital. He screams for her to stop for the dose is bigger than it is supposed but the scream remains a silent whisper inside his throat as the walls close in on him. The morphine does its trick.

A young man and his wife finds a reason to batter each other and be happy again amid material plenty and big life.

4.Book: "Poet of the Revolution: The Memories and Poems of Lal Singh Dil"; Translated by Nirupama Dutt; Published by Penguin India; Price: Rs.399

Lal Singh Dil is a legend in Punjab famed as much as his rousing poetry as for the brew of his tea stall.

Born to an untouchable Dalit community in the years before Partition, he bravely challenged deep rooted social prejudices through his crisp verses.

His struggle led him to join the Naxalite revolution - an experience that culminated into years of horrifying torture at the hands of the police.

5.Book: "Tiger Warrior: Fateh Singh Rathode of Ranthambore"; Written by Soonoo Taraporewala; Published by Penguin-India; Price: Rs.499

Sighting a tiger in a game park is exciting. But when the call of the wild is in Ranthambore, the act of sighting a tiger becomes nothing short of an adventure.

Fateh Singh Rathore was a stranger to the animal. They waited for an hour; a long hour during which Bhanwar Singh kept muttering, "It can't happen - he has to come".

The tiger duly came back, but not to the kill. He sat a little distance from him meticulously licking his huge paw. Fateh once more felt the same feelings of elation and fear and declared that he had enough excitement for one day.

The book is an account of tiger conservationist Fateh Singh Rathore's struggle to conserve the tiger.

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