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The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher- Hilary Mantel : 59/52

I’m too dense to get most of them.

With Wolf Hall put on hold  because I couldn’t keep up with the Thomases, I picked up this book to get Hilary Mantel in bite sized pieces. But looks like I’m still not deep enough to get her. Or maybe I’m not cool enough.

Do Not Disturb was disturbing. I expected something more stereotypical and was pleasantly and disturbingly surprised. Comma too hit home somewhere. Winter Break left me with goosebumps. The rest, I didn’t get. The most disappointing was the last story, the one in the book title. Not that I expected anything controversial, but it wasn’t as twisty as I hoped it would be. Also, I don’t take Irish terror seriously.

The problem with short-stories is that they leave me wanting more. I can handle those crisp two page stories with twist endings or novellas, but I always have a problem with short-story length short-stories. Also, short-stories need to be read at a leisurely pace, and spaced out over a longer period. I read these at one stretch, and worse, in order. So maybe I need to pick up this book after a few months and read one story at a time again to appreciate it better.

 

Coonoor Fiction

I was browsing through an old Femina from 2011 when I saw this. Wow. Someone from Coonoor has written a book and the book is set in Coonoor. How did I manage to miss it all these days.

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The book doesn’t seem to be available now, but there is a sample story from the collection on the website and it seems pretty ok. While it was weird reading about a fictional town of Monele near Ooty in Love Kills, it seems even weirder to read about Alwarpet, Bedford and Alankar Bakery in this story. Localities you’ve actually walked around in. A bakery on whose counter you have sat on an eaten the same apple cakes.  A nice kind of weird.

The author is a familiar name. Of course I don’t know her personally. We were from the same town, but totally different circles. Interesting how she describes her love hate relationship with Coonoor in this article.  I don’t intend to imply anything negative here, but I remember that she was a bit of an Urban Legend in town those days. Ofcourse most of those stories that shocked indianculture then were exaggerated and embellished, I’m sure.  She talks about her rebellion and how she felt a total misfit back there then. I can totally relate.

But somehow she has been drawn back to Coonoor and has gone on to write a book of stories set in that very town. That’s the beauty of Coonoor.

I too have a love hate relationship with Coonoor. This line from Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects perfectly describes the town

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Maybe someday I too will write a book set in Coonoor, based on people living in Coonoor.  And I’ll reveal some deep dark secrets with the disclaimer that it is purely fiction. I’m evil that way.

 (Note: Not mentioning any names in this post because I don’t want a Google search making things awkwardly uncomfortable)

Black

The Darkness comes suddenly. It can hit me anytime. I could be having a quiet dinner or just be curled up on the couch with a book, after a long day at work. And suddenly, the world around me grows dark. A deathly silence engulfs me, swallows me and takes me to places I’ve never been to before. Sometimes it is not Darkness, just Silence. I would be sprawled on the floor, watching some mindless TV, the volume turned up to drown out the constant whirr of the neighbour’s mixer grinder or the FM station blaring from the tailor’s shop opposite my house. And suddenly, there would be silence. An eerie, deathly silence. These attacks come with a warning sometimes. I’d be having my morning coffee, turning the pages of the newspaper, and suddenly, I would know. A premonition. I would just know that it will attack me sometime that day.  Still, it makes no difference whether I am prepared or not. There is no escape. From both—the Darkness and the Silence.

The Darkness is the worst. It is like being trapped in a coffin. I never try to fight it because I know I will not win. I quietly go and lie down, trying to overcome the black with sleep. I toss and turn and try to shut my eyes tight to block out the Darkness. But it gets worse. The room starts growing hot and humid around me. It is like being trapped in a dark chamber with a constant flow of steam. No, not like a sauna. I can suddenly feel something chewing on my flesh, man-eating monsters. An ominous buzz begins and it gets louder and louder until there is nothing but that in my ears. I flay my hands wildly in the inky blackness around me. I don’t know what I am trying to chase away, the Darkness, the Silence, the buzzing or the flesh-eating beasts gnawing at me. I touch my hand and I find blood. I cannot scream. And then, without any warning, a wave of cool air wafts in from somewhere. I breathe. I calm down. And the coolness lulls me to sleep. They say prayer helps. And so, I pray. I pray to all the powers that be.

I pray that the power crisis in Tamil Nadu ends soon.

This was ‘published’ in Femina Fast Fiction http://www.feminafastfiction.com/story/black/361/