The name of Geetashree Chatterjee is not new for the readers of the virtual world – poems, stories, blogs, articles, reviews, opinion and what not ! This multi-talented person has tried her hand on different genres of literature in all the three languages she is well-versed with – Bangla, Hindi and English. She enjoys expressing may it be in Bangla, Hindi or English and may it be in any genre she opts to try her hand at her creative moment. Though Geetashree has been a contributor to written work also in the past, her first full-fledged creation as a hard copy book has arrived for the admirers of her pen as well as quality English works in the form of ‘A Basketful of Lies‘. It is a collection of her short stories published independently in the past, now available at one place in this shape.A
A Basketful of Lies contain total fifteen stories of which the last two stories (Virgin White & The Interlude) are relatively long and can be termed as long-short stories. The authoress has never asserted from her side to have tried her hand on the sketch genre of literature. All the same, many stories are actually sketches – sketches of characters, sketches of life-situations.
The stories are interesting, of course; however entertaining the reader does not seem to be the objective behind their creation. They must have emerged spontaneously from the depth of the authoress’ heart in their respective moments of creation. The authoress’ own life-experiences and real observations of people and events appear to have reflected in the stories through their fictional characters.
Many stories are open-ended and the reader is left to guess certain things according to his / her own mindset and thought-train. This is quite alright as giving food-for-thought to the readers is not only the author’s prerogative but sometimes it adds spice to the work also. All the same, in my opinion, if a story is too open-ended to tie its loose ends, it may prove to be a food-for-headache for a normal reader.
I was touched by small stories like The Paint Brush, The Old Book Shop, Dark is the Devil and The Linguist. How the so-called modernization has been crushing the noble values, virtues, innocence and tenderness of life can be vividly seen and felt in these stories. Most of the stories are able to strike a chord in the heart of any sensitive reader.
The authoress is quite proficient in English and it’s a pleasure for any purist to read her English works. This story collection is no exception. Not only the paper, printing, binding and cover are of superior quality with perfect proof-reading (not a single error of spelling or grammar can be spotted in the book) but the English used by the authoress is of high aesthetic value. And that’s a great plus point of this book.
For those who are tired of reading Chetan Bhagat brand mediocre stuff written in mediocre English, A Basketful of Lies is like a gust of fresh air. While acknowledging and appreciating the quality of the book wholeheartedly, I feel that one thing is deeply missing in it – Hope ! After reading it till its last word, I was wondering – ‘Is there no hope anywhere for the aggrieved, for the victimized, for the innocent, for the virtuous and for those having a heart of gold ?’
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