Turning Point:Best of Young Indian Writers

Title:Turning Point-Best of Young Indian Authors
Editor:Nikita Singh
Publisher:Wisdom Tree
Source:Review Copy (Publisher)
Price:150 INR/-
                  Turning Point is an interesting anthology of short stories penned by some of the prominent names among the young Indian Authors.This seemingly un- related set of tales (by Nikitha Singh,Judy Balan,Harsh Snehanshu,Meenakshy R Madhavan to name a few) have one thing in common,i.e. a turning point.These stories describe incidents which inturn act as turning points in the life of it's protagonists.To be very frank,I have never been a fan of any of these authors(Judy Balan may be an exception but even then,after reading her rather mediocre 'Sophie Says' last week,I'm not sure whether I will spend my money on her third work which is due for release any time soon).Still,I picked up this book for review as I am a huge fan of short tales of fiction and I badly wanted to check out what these young Indian writers were up to!
  •  The anthology starts off with Meenakshy Reddy Madhavan's 'Insert a Carrot',a supposedly light hearted take on new-age relationships and break ups.While respecting the writer's noble intentions,I must admit that this one reads more like a random blog post than a genuine short story.The writing style and innumerable (often pointless)references to orgasms,vibrators and sex toys don't help the matters either.I would give this one a generous 2 out of 5. 
  • The second story('The English Teacher')by Durjoy Datta is about a teenager who is obsessed with his English Teacher.It explores the rather age old fascination of young boys with their teachers.This (though with a predictable ending) is the most 'erotic' among the stories in this compilation with the 'sex' part being quite competently written.My rating  is a 2.5/5.
  • Atulya Mahajan's  'U-Turn' is as much about parental love as the choices which one makes in his life.Decently written,this one manages to strike a chord with the reader but here again the basic problem is predictability.Still,it makes for a compelling read.It gets a 2.8/5 from my part.
  • Judy Balan attempts a satire quite successfully with 'The Return of the Original Vampire'.The narrative is humorous and pokes fun at the 'vampire craze' among teenagers.Rating-3/5.
  • 'An Unusual Accomplice'(Parinda Joshi) is a crime thriller set in the backdrop of a rave party in Ahmedabad which begins well only to fizzle out quite soon.One of the lengthiest stories in this collection,it drags on and on like a bad Bollywood movie and by the time the 52 year old retired army officer is done with his investigation and the startling revelation is made,the poor reader has stopped bothering about the victim and the murder.Rating-1.5/5
  • My personal favourite in this anthology is the most light hearted of the tales,'The X-Boss' by Shoma Narayan which is about an office secretary who is haunted by the ghost of her previous Boss.Hilarious one-liners and clever usage of words makes this one an absolute winner.I'm glad to give it a very high 3.5 out of 5.
  • Harsh Snehanshu's 'Summer Showers' deals with puppy love and is an okay fare at best.Rating:2.4/5.
  • In 'Whispered Prayers',Nikita Singh narrates the story of Anjali,a rape survivor who is considered an outcast by the society.The author puts forward a couple of really valid thoughts but stumbles a bit in executing them convincingly.With a more subtle approach ,this story would have easily become the pick of the lot.I am giving it a three out of five.
                Two things work in favour of this book.First and foremost,this is  an easy read.Secondly,the editor has made sure that there is something for everyone in 'Turning Point'.There is a love story,a super-natural tale,an erotic fable and even a crime-thriller(whether it thrills or not is a different question altogether though!).The publishers are very clear.They want to tap in the market created by the Sandeep Nagarkars and the Nikita Singhs and are heavily banking on the young urban reader to make this endevaour click (which  it hopefully will).On the downside,the book has it's own share of flaws,some tales are too long and predictable and only serves to add to the length of the book.
                 It's easy to dismiss this work as yet another wannabe attempt by a group of amateur writers with no literary merit.But no one can neglect the fact that it succeeds to a large extend in entertaining it's target reader group-i.e the young urban Indian reader.Overall rating-2.9/5


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