Here’s my take on Love and Other Enchantments by The Fictitious
Though this book is reviewed before on my blog by Dhruvi Sarda, I felt a need to go more brief and write a detailed review of it.
Short stories are magical. They take you on a walk through the liveliest of alleys, a few resplendent, while others torn between the subdued shades of white and black, to finally melt away, leaving your mind smeared with the most vibrant of hues, like a richly flavoured delicacy dissolving into the hidden recesses of one’s senses, all in a matter of few minutes. The beauty is enhanced further if the theme reflected upon is love, for no feeling has conquered human minds like love in its multifarious forms.
Here we, a group of five writers, knit together by the bond of creativity and a passion for writing, present before you ‘Love And Other Enchantments’ a short story anthology, showcasing fifteen stories that depict, with much ardour, the depth and sheer poignancy of unrequited love.
The short story collection—termed as anthology—offer a good
coffee break or a quick read.
Love being the focus of the stories, every author puts ahead
a different category under love.
The collection begins with the stories of Tanima Kedar’s
stories, which portray a struggle and sacrifices made in love, by love, for
love. The stories sum up a refreshing read.
- ‘Till Death do us Apart’ turns out to be beautiful yet heart
wrenching story that portrays a different side of medical stream. The story
follows a great story-telling pattern, but fumbles in narration at times…especially
while using ellipsis and shuffling tenses.
- Whereas ‘Together Forever’ tells you a wonderful story about
sacrifice in love. Well put, and emotions well portrayed, this story is a must
read.—One of the favourite stories of mine in this anthology.
- ‘The Diary’ is a story of a small chase, with a diary as the
hero of the story. A good read, but not great. With no twists and turns along,
the story goes with a slower pace than required. The narration works out well
though, and happens to be conveying the story pretty good. End is beautiful.
In the list, Ishan Dafaria jumps in next with his stories
conceptualized with an essence of ‘left alone, forever’ love. The stories are
quite depressive; and do carry potential to make you feel the same as well.
- First on the platform is ‘Closure’, which lets out the feelings
of a lover, with each effort one can put. The story seems to have an abrupt
end, which could’ve been better. Also, the narration appears to be a bit
dragged to me, may change with readers’ perspectives. Overall, a good portray.
- ‘Different things’—a story that left me a little confused.
The scenario painted has a scope to explore the feelings of the protagonist a
little more, and the story seems rushed towards the end. Minor errors can be
seen in the story; also some references feel inappropriate if went with the
flow of the plot used.
- ‘Hatred, Crime and
Love’ is a story that is very well put and narrated with the same efficient
efforts. A love and sacrifice tale of a bad guy, that is all what this story is
about. Greatly expressed and being employed a different thought process—this story
definitely stands out in this anthology.
All the stories are slow paced, but if seen the storylines,
the pace seems necessary. Also, it may irk you as the usage of ellipsis is a
bit too much.
Third in the anthology, Akash Deep Gupta comes up with his
stories based on a different aspect of love, which tells me to not reveal the
- ‘The Poem’—is a great
read. The story unfolds itself with a touch of riddle-formed dialogues, which
made me like more. The story goes with a required pace and good narration with
a twist at the end. But, the readers might get confused while grasping the
change in the time zones of the scenarios, which could’ve been separated by
using either asterisks or dashes.
- ‘Charm of those Eyes’ happens on a background of
British-German war, where the story runs in a flashback. The plot revolves
around the charm of the eyes of a lady, as mentioned in the title. Great climax
which manages to increase heartbeats of a reader; but has minute errors amidst
- ‘The Lake of Love’ is a story told by the characters about a
frozen lake that is famous as lake of love. With a good start, nice plotting a
beautiful end, this story is quite a nice read. The only thing I felt a need of
was the flashback being enclosed in annotations, as it initiates directly with
Maliny Mohan is the
fourth author in the anthology. With twist-bound love stories, she makes a good
impact on the readers.
- ‘At a Bus Stop’—a well thought story, with a great twist at
the end. The overuse of adjectives feels unnecessary to an extent, also the
story somewhere fails to convey the story properly…but it does end with a nice
- ‘The Revival’ is a great story with a nice message conveyed
in the end. The author manages well to portray the feelings of the characters,
and also the twist is something that you wouldn’t have thought off. Overall, a
well expressed story, with a blend of beauty.
- ‘He loves me Not’ is another good effort built by the
author. Slow paced in the middle, the story could’ve been crispier and the idea
could’ve been put better. The twist at
the end manages to leave you in awe for sure.
The only thing that might cause a problem to the readers in
Maliny Mohan’s stories is the repeated use of references in the stories with different
Coming last in the list is Anuj Kumar, who is the only
author among the fictitious five whom I have seen using the italics and
semicolons mostly at the appropriate places. Kudos to him for that. Anuj writes
about Incomplete but One Sided Love in his stories, and every story has a
different aspect regarding the topic he chose to write.
- ‘So mad in Love’—a story that shows about the obsession and devotion
towards the almighty—the God. Re-enacting a kind of Meera and Lord Krishna’s
story in his own way, Anuj manages to put up the nasty and cruel side of the
society. Talking about the language used, some words feel inappropriate while
depicting an action, and tenses happen to baffle a little bit amidst the read.
A well written story.
- ‘It’s not Soothing Everytime’—a dark love (obsession) story.
The story manages greatly to convey the terror and feels throughout the read.
Amazingly crafted, twisted climax and nicely portrayed; one of the favourites
of mine in this anthology. Though the story bears minor editing mistakes, and
references seem to have been used a little better.
- ‘Known Unknown’ is a story which again portrays an incomplete
love story. A tale of friendship, an intense friendship which runs on a
different level is what this story tells you. A good read overall, and the end
is nicely portrayed too.
The anthology is well put in one, with the fictitious five
using the strengths of their own pens and word power. Combining a different aspect
the revolve around the subject of Love, the stories do need to undergo a good
editing. The poems and one-liners used in between and in the stories add a glare to the stories.
3/5 stars from my side.
The excessive (and inappropriate)
use of ellipsis in some of the stories, typos, spacing issues, baffles in
shuffling the tenses are the issues what can cause a trouble to the readers. Overall,
a great effort put by the team, and it is a good short read.