Book Review – Urban Shots: Yuva

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Urban Shots: Yuva is the fifth book in the Urban Shots anthology series. Over the years, Grey Oak and Westland (Urban Shots publishers) have become synonymous with introducing new authors with short stories across genres of love, hate, city life, lust and the likes. Together the series has sold thousands of copies. And now Rupa Publications have taken up the reins for the new one. Does it work as before? Let’s check it out.

The blurb goes like this:

An eclectic potpourri of short stories written by young writers, Urban Shots: Yuva offers a realistic, panoramic view of today’s India. Narrated with intensity, these sharply introspective and distinct urban tales are reflective of the diverse nature of our lives in Indian cities. In ‘The Love Note’, Tara and Rahul find unexpected love after a bitter fight; a widowed Nikita finally learns to let go of her past in ‘Long Walk Back to the Shore’ while Gopal unwittingly encounters danger in ‘The Cab Driver’.

Poignant, optimistic and sometimes sinister, the stories in this sparkling collection will remain with you long after you’ve read them.

As is the case with guys at Grey Oak, their book covers are generally done quite well. Rupa doesn’t disappoint either with quite an interesting cover giving an idea on what to expect as we go forward. The text and the quality of the pages is well maintained throughout the book.

As is normally the case with short stories, one shouldn’t read the book in one go. Depending on the kind of stories you like and the kinds you want to experiment and check out, you can go to the respective ones and give them a read. Some are really good while there are a couple which are ordinary.

From the relatives who expected gifts from America to the autowallah, from the note about the friend – ‘Junaid’ to the sweet little date between two; these stories are full of heart and soul. There is something about the depth and the feeling expressed from a lot of these stories which stays with you for quite a while. There are many emotions, sequences and feelings which you can easily associate with your daily life.

My top 5 (in no particular order are) –

Long Walk Back to the Shore by Ashish Karkare

The Cab Driver by Janice Rodrigues

Collateral Damage by Adithya Narayanan

Palace Dweller by Sneh Thakur

The Pillow Knows Our Secrets by Hina Siddiqui

A special mention to Lipi Mehta for a fairly good job in editing the stories.

The negatives? Yes, the problem with an anthology is that some stories are quite ordinary when compared to the others. There were some which didn’t really have any emotions while others meandered aimlessly without a proper narrative or structure. And secondly having read almost all Urban Shots series, I would like the guys to explore new genres like thrillers, satire, humour and the likes. It maybe there but its few and far in between.

All in all, if you are one for simple and sweet little short stories, go for this.

Rating – 3.5/5

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