Last week, I was waiting for the latest books I had ordered on Amazon to be delivered, and was in for a surprise when I was greeted with not one package, but two. The other was from PanMacmillan publications and in it was Chhimi Tenduf-La’s third and latest book – Loyal Stalkers.
I am not sure if you remember, but 2 years ago, I had read and reviewed this author’s first two books – The Amazing Racist and Panther, and they had been incredible in my view. This third book, is a collection of short stories based in Sri Lanka.
I am not a very short story person, and I had my apprehensions when I picked it up. There are more than 10 stories – telling us about the lives of people in Srilanka. These people came from absolutely varied backgrounds and situations – what with stories involving smugglers, cricketers, security guards, house-help, rich socialites and even a serial killer. The very span of the different facets of Srilanka living that you could see through these stories was downright astounding.
The highlight of the book however was that every story had some character, main or otherwise, linked to some other story in the book. This was not a surprise element, and is mentioned on the blurb itself. But I think that the subtlety with which these linkages were handled is commendable. The stories also panned across different times, and you would see the same character in a different story at a much later, or sometimes earlier phase of their life. And through this, the author ensured that he brought about some amount of closure to each character and their life, an aspect that I am immensely thankful about. Also, while I know it is not realistic expectation, but the only minor grudge I had was when there were characters I wanted to know more about, and expected them to come up in other stories, but they didn’t.
Not all the stories were your typical happy endings, but then reality never is, is it? And while some stories made me cry, some made me smile, and some actually made me cringe at the rawness, the graphic detail – the warm undertones remained through out. Yes, I do of course have my favorites in the lot, but that is more an individual opinion about the actual events that happen, rather than the story itself.
All said and done, I think it was extremely engrossing read, and I would recommend it to anyone. In terms of rating it, I might go as far as calling it Chhimi’s best work so far, more because of this unique format that offers you variety, but brings you back to the all encompassing common theme of life.
Once again, thank you Panmacmillan, and Chhimi for sending this across – I am sure everyone reading it will love it!