Previous Works– Debut Novel
THE FEISTY RAT AND OTHER STORIES gives a glimpse of cultural, social and political milieu of today`s India and explores changing norms of family and relationships. Adolescent Durga battles the triple evil of Casteism, Patriarchy and Poverty in titular story, Old Mariam seeks her place in the family in THE ULTIMATE ARRANGEMENT and little Kanak encounters the demon of superstition in THE WILD RIVER. Young Shambhu ironically doubts our Freedom on INDEPENDENCE DAY and Avik realizes that the established model of happiness is mere PLACEBO. Love strives to survive amid hate in THE DESERT ROSE, a young drifting couple learns the importance of communication in THE NEW APARTMENT and an old colonel succeeds in restoring his GRAMOPHONE and marital life.
The Feisty Rat and other Stories is an anthology of short stories by Nilesh Shankar that take you through a typical journey of life. The topics that the author chose to write were really thought provoking and the choice of those topics make the book different than most short stories. It just shows how really small things can have a really great story and the muffler is an example of that. How false beliefs can make man go to lengths that would otherwise be unthinkable.
The book has a total of 11 short stories and the last story, The Auction was what hit me hard. There was this perfect balance of stories of modern life and the evils of the society. Not too much of the former to make the book too simple, and just the right amount of the latter for it to have some impact.
The stories like the Muffler, The New Apartment, The Gramophone, The Placebo, etc. are based on the modern beliefs and I was quite surprised with the Gramophone. The end was interesting.
The author follows a somewhat perfect story-telling graph. It starts with an introduction, following rising action. Some stories end at the climax with harsh revelation and some with conclusion.
Ratings- 3.5 stars out of 5
The stories are intriguing but short lived. The narration is straight forward and to the frustration of the reader, they give the feeling of ending before they even start.
The plot for each short story is interesting and the end is exciting but it’s just too short. As a reader I would have really appreciated if the stories were longer.
There could have been more effort given to word play. Most readers crave for that beauty in presenting the thoughts but this book is too straight forward.
Even though the stories are amazing and the book has a lot of potential, it just gets reduced to being a one-time read because there is nothing to make the reader come back.
Reviewed by- Banaja Prakashini
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About Nilesh Shankar-
Nilesh Shankar hails from Nagpur. He realized his passion of storytelling when he directed his first play in 11th grade. His academic (BTech- NIT Nagpur, PGDM- IIM Kozhikode) and professional journey of sales gave him a chance to explore diverse parts of the country and discover intriguing lives of its people- their society, culture, struggles and relationships.
He believes that every story deserves a suitable medium and experiments with radio and films along with books. He has pitched a story to NFDC and his first short film is under process. ‘The Feisty Rat and other stories’, is his debut book.