They Go To Sleep by Saugata Chakraborty is the collection of twelve
short stories. The stories are not theme based as many authors prefer
to write. It spans through many genres. So you will get to read suspense, crime thriller, murder mystery, contemporary, sci-fi, romance, political thriller and what not.
Some Of My Favorites
Some of the stories were so well written, when they finished, I realized that they have just wetted my throat but did not quench my thirst. The story was finished, but the desire to drink more remained.
Let me first start with my favorite story. What’s In A Name is the last story in the collection and happens to be the best. The conversations were lively and fun to read. It is the way everyone teases and pokes jokes at the onset of those special feelings for someone. It will tickle your romantic bones in anticipation of a love story but exactly at that point the story ends. It is perfectly balanced and not a word is out of the place.
The next one is A Man of Letters. This one is sci-fi and it is most relevant in our present scenario. The beautiful art of writing letters, holding a pen and inking your feelings on paper, inland letters have lost its sheen to the convenience of technology. This story gives a valid reason to revive this lost way of life just like old clothing fashions are revived again as new trend with some tweaks to match the modern generation taste.
The Other Side was another riveting read. It left me thoughtful and pensive. Blessings and curses mean so much in our life. We all strive
for blessings and to avoid curse. This story is about the power of the
curse given in the fits of rage.
Khushnuma, the protagonist of the short story named Aperture will remind you of the fighting spirit of Malala. The mention of Pulwama in the story immediately strikes a cord with the story due to the recent
disaster. It was a fearful but riveting read.
Believable Stories and Characters
All the characters and situations seems to be tangible and human,
inspired from the real life experiences. You might have met or known such people in your every walk of life. You can’t say this is not possible, such things don’t happen in the real world after reading any of the story. Even the sci-fi story is palpable.
I rarely read the foreword of any book, especially if they are
excessively long. But for a change I read the foreword of this book
written by Bazil Shaikh former Principal Chief General Manager at RBI,
also an author. It was an amazing read and the best part of the book
as rightly observed by the author himself. Don’t miss his foreword when you pick up They Go To Sleep.
Things Which I Didn’t Like
But there are few things which obstructed to completely enjoy reading all the stories. I like short stories with two or three characters with minimum change of physical location and a very tight and compact
plot structure with no irrelevant piece of information.
Most of the stories in this book have too many characters with no
distinctive characterization which made it difficult to remember them
and to join the dots as the story unfolds. I always have to reread the
stories, many times thrice, in order to tie all the loosen knots.
Along with the main story, the author has included sub stories in his
short stories. Again, I don’t like a single word out of the place in the short stories which was the case in most of the stories.
Also the author has this habit to withhold the name of the characters
and then drop them like bomb later on, which really hampered my reading flow and I have reread again to find out that is it a new character or the old one.
The stories are not theme based hence each one is unique and
independent in itself. In this way the author manages to avoid
monotonous voice in the collection.
Endings are unpredictable. So you have to read till the end when you
start one. The climax of The Short Lives of Shazia Sultana was completely out of the box. It took me by surprise.
The stories are not an easy breezy read. It is a short book of only
100 pages or so, but it took me five days to complete it. The stories
are not soul searching or heavy read that you have to take breaks
every now and then. Somehow the writing style of the author, too many characters, sub stories, multiple plots made it difficult to read the
book in a flow. You have to keep going back as you have lot the track.
You have to read it like drinking wine, slowly and attentively. Even
then I think you have to reread it, especially the ones which have
huge ensemble of characters and constant change in location. And if
you manage to do so then all the stories are amazing.