Saturday, May 3, 2014

An Atlas of Love Review: Engaging but not enslaving

Book: An Atlas of Love (The Rupa Romance Anthology)
Authors: Several
Publisher: Rupa
Genre: Romance (Fiction)
No. of pages: 188
Cover Price: Rs 195 (ex-discount)

Review: Here is my story-by-story review of each of the 16 winning tales.

Story 1
Phoenix Mills (by Aurodeep Nandi)
Rating: 5/5
Review:  Such a well-crafted story of wit and realism that it sucks you like a vacuum and leaves a void when it spits you out of its chamber at the end. ‘Phoenix Mills’ is about a man, a mall and love found and lost. (This story won the 1st prize in the Rupa Romance Contest).

Story 2
Just One Glance (by Rhiti Bose)
Hard-nosed critics will surely trash this story calling it cliched and a done-to-death teenage romance. But ‘Just One Glance’ is so insanely readable and so incredibly relatable that you will love walking through its pages to relive your own mushy teenage days.

Story 3
Jilted (by Cecile Rischmann)
Okay, though ‘Jilted’ is readable and decently written, it is plain and has nothing extraordinary to offer. Why this story won the Rupa contest baffles me?

Story 4
The Unseen Boundaries of Love (by Debosmita Nandy)
What apparently looks like another chic lit romance turns out to be brutally intense, powerful and shocking towards the end. The final two pages helped this tale bag the 2nd prize in the Rupa Romance Contest.

Story 5
The Library (by Tarunima Mago)
Fresh story with some nice lines. Makes for a nice read but then nothing unforgettable. ‘The Library’ is engaging but not enslaving.

Story 6
Rock My Ass (by Shoma Chakraborty)
Ordinary hackneyed story but so incredibly well-written.

Story 7
The Impasse (by Aabhishek Patwari)
A mature story that talks about an aged man who has just lost his wife. Life becomes frighteningly lonely when you are at the fag end of it. ‘The Impasse’ brings plenty of lumps in the throat. One of the better stories of the book!

Story 8
Mixed Erotica Goes to the Party (by Sheila Kumar)
Writing is good but the story has nothing to offer. Readable throughout, engaging at times, arresting at odd corners but nothing too brilliant to admire.

Story 9
Something about Karen (by Abhishek Mukherjee)
A different kind of romance! Ryan loves Karen. But who is she? The climax may delight some and irk others. Quality of writing is good.

Story 10
The Affair (by Anita Sarkar)
A riveting extramarital affair with the usual do’s and don’ts. The climax was all set for that cheesy melodramatic finish we all love to feed upon. But Anita Sarkar chooses to play her cards differently (and intelligently).

Story 11
When You Least Expect It (by Meera Rajagopalan)
A feel-good story that advocates the concept of ‘signs’ in love and relationships.

Story 12
Urmila (by Sudha Subramanian)
The story talks of Urmila’s desolation during the 14-year exile period when she was away from her husband Lakshmana. It is a modest attempt by the author but fails to grip, delight shock or sadden.

Story 13
Blossoms (by Roshan Radhakrishnan)
Sweet innocent classroom love story. A bit too simple but a charming one all the same.

Story 14
Death of a Widower (by Monidipa Mondal)
Written with maturity, this story about a young man who lost his wife in a terror attack is painfully realistic and brutally readable. The end drops down at you all of a sudden like a bomb and leaves you to imagine whether it will explode or not.

Story 15
Post-Coital cigarette (by Aarti Venkatraman)
A devastatingly well-written story of a psycho-lover narrated in 1st person style, ‘Post-Coital cigarette’ is a smoldering stuff.

Story 16
Siddharth (by Pooja Pillai)
Story-wise it is another teenage romance and not quite the material for winning the 3rd prize in this Rupa Romance Contest. But it is narrated in that seductive way that you are just stuck like a Fevicol till the very end.  

[This review has been written on behalf of, the web-based portal which apart from providing free books (including ‘The Lowland’ and 'The Hungry Tide') also helps me to discover the best prices for any product, be it a phone or a book or something as insignificant as a badminton racquet and something as significant as a shuttle cock.]

~Ritesh Agarwal


  1. Looks like a lovely book. Thanks for the review Rit!

  2. The book is something I have been hearing about. Well reading the synopsis you have specified I too liked the psycho lover one so far..


  3. Thank you for your kind words. I don't know what it would do, either. :)

    - Monidipa

  4. @Bushra and Richa, sure the book is a good one overall.

    @Monidipa, that's the thing. Sometimes, the writers too are unaware what will happen to their characters at a later date. Good writing. Keep it up :)

  5. Thank you for your lovely review for my story :) Glad you liked it.


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