Book Review- Aerogrammes and other stories by Tania James

10 years ago Shaili Desai 4

I’ve had a massive realization. I’ve realized that I have finished a LOT of books while travelling in trains. And now, add one more to the list. I finished Aerogrammes and other stories by Tania James while travelling between Valsad and Anand on the Gujarat Express. There was a particularly chatty middle aged person sitting next to me but I resisted all his attempts to make me talk to him and finished the book like a good girl. 🙂

Book Cover
Book Cover

And what did I think about the book?

I have always liked short stories. Most of them always manage to be profound even though they don’t use so many words. Similar is the case with this book. The stories are inherently profound, but leave it up to the reader to understand the different layers in the characters. Living abroad is a major theme in all the stories and the author quite provides a different perspective. For a change, I was glad to not find  stories of alienation and the Desi/Not Desi turmoil that is so much a part of most books written by authors with similar backgrounds(Since not every book turns out to be as good as The Namesake). But there is alienation in the stories, but it’s not the same. It’s also about loss and how distances separate people. I particularly liked the first story ‘Lion and Panther in London’ (The cover seemed to be such a big mystery to me, until I saw the title of the first story) and the story of ‘Ethnic Ken’.

All in all, it’s a book that’s not very heavy on your mind but they are profound and very well written. And you create your own meaning from each story. Tania James has piqued my interest in her with this book. I am tempted to read her first book, ‘The Atlas of Unknowns’ now. Does somebody have a copy? 🙂

PS Have you seen her picture? She’s also very good looking. 🙂

Note: Copy of the book provided by Random House.