"Fly on the Wall & other Stories" by Shubha Sarma - A Review
by Sanya Sen
With an intriguing title and a thought provoking cover, Fly on the Wall & other Stories, is not your usual run-of-the-mill book. It is a collection of thirteen stories, which the author describes as ‘short’ in the blurb. However, this is not strictly correct as they range from flash fiction to stories that run into five thousand words. And some lie somewhere in between. In fact, the capacity of the author to cover a wide spectrum is what sets apart this collection from others. Whether it is the diversity of places where the stories are set, with some being in the rural hinterland of Assam and Odisha and others in the more urban settings of Lucknow and Delhi, or the characters, there are no two tales that are alike. The protagonists are also equally assorted with shades of black, white and grey in their characters. The effortless manner in which the author traverses the geographic landscape and human lives is admirable. She is equally at ease in the dusty villages of Orissa as well as the urban milieu of Delhi.
Most of the stories are written lucidly, with picturesque descriptions and well-structured stories. The endings are unexpected and though predictable in some cases, in a few stories, they take one completely by surprise. The themes that the author tackles are universal issues- family, love, friendship and the burning topics of today, corruption and red-tape in bureaucracy.
Suffice it to say that this collection is a treat for the reader, cutting across age, linguistic or geographical barriers. *****