Cocktail of emotions

Written by Surabhi Rastogi | Surabhi | Updated: Apr 27 2008, 06:37am hrs
Cause its a bittersweet symphony, this life; Trying to make ends meet these lyrics of a song by The Verve aptly sum up Shinie Antonys Sance on a Sunday Afternoon.

The book, a collection of 22 short stories deals with the bittersweet flavour of modern day life. Loss emotional, physical or even both together and how each of the protagonists deals with it is the dominant theme in most stories. The title story Sance on a Sunday Afternoon is one such account where both physical and emotional losses are spoken about. Meanwhile in Monkey Darling we get to know a woman battling with the after effects of breast cancer while Dry Mouthed is the story of a woman whos love for her husband has somehow dried up so much so that she imagines him dead.

In Sofa we meet an elderly man living with his son and daughter-in-law whos coming to terms with his worthlessness in the new family dynamics while Tapioca Nights talks of how a woman deals with heartbreak. In The Night and My Second Suicide are especially poignant. The first is the story of a woman who waits for her dead first husband every night. A girl who failed her first suicide attempt is the protagonist of My Second Suicide.

But the book is not only about gloom and doom. Antony also comes up with a few quirky tales like The Blogger, Butterflies in the Stomach and Tasteless, which are sweet yet funny stories. The main characters in each of these stories embark on a path of self-discovery with quite amusing results. Antony, a veteran of the genre with two previous anthologies Barefoot and Pregnant and Planet Polygamous seems to have worked hard to ensure that all the stories are unique in their style of narration and presentation. For instance Overheard is a compilation of snatches of conversations, while The Blogger is written in the form of (what else) but blogs.

And it is not only each of the stories but also the authors style of writing which keeps the reader drawn in. Antony has a way with words and is brave enough to move away from the usual style of writing to create her own. The curtains on fire from the headlights outside, and Attempts are advertisements of intent, are a few cases in point. Although the book is a little slow to begin with, the pace picks up soon. Sance... is a perfect read for a lazy Sunday afternoon. A word of caution you may just want to cancel your plans for the evening to stay in and finish the book.