Book Review | Twelve Stories From Around The World by Poornima Manco

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Genre: Women’s fiction, short stories

Publication date: July 27, 2020

Publisher: Mango Tree Publications

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Choices. Life offers us plenty. How do you know you chose correctly?

From the streets of West Berlin to the lush tropical climes of Bali, from New Delhi to New York – these stories follow characters faced with choices that could send their lives in different and sometimes opposite directions.

A daughter who wants more from life, a father who contemplates ending his; a love lost, a love retained, a love forgotten. Regret, retribution and remorse are liberally sprinkled through this diverse and eclectic collection of short stories. In surprising, vivid and thought-provoking journeys across continents, cultures and landscapes, an indubitable truth emerges – human emotions are essentially the same world over.

Savour this collection of tales that range from smooth to dark, nutty to silly, and bitter to sweet.

Which story would you like to bite into today?

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Just like the cover that shows a box of assorted chocolates, this collection features all kinds of short stories about love, greed, revenge, jealousy, bitterness, and many other emotions and situations.

Most stories end with a twist, which may or may not shock you depending on what you were expecting. I felt that some had quite tame endings, but then I was spoiled by the first story (Sakura), which ended quite dramatically.

My favorite stories were “Sakura” (about a lost love set in Japan), “Umami” (about love, obsession, and revenge), and “Maybe” (which is a tribute to Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca).

“Precipice” gave me shivers as I did not foresee the shock ending. “Someone Like You” plumbs the depths of hatred while demonstrating that it has the potential to consume you if you harbor it for too long. The body image issues, the yo-yo dieting, and the short-lived nature of fame described in “Huge” will resonate with many people.

“Rearview” (about alcoholism) was somewhat confusing and abrupt–I reread parts of the story to understand what was going on. “Central Reservation” appears to draw inspiration from the life of Princess Diana in a futuristic tale about stealing years.

I felt that “Losing It” and “The Dentist” were the weakest pieces in the lot–they failed to hold my attention and were predictable. “The Dentist” was just reminiscent of a run-of-the-mill spy movie.

Despite these shortcomings, the author writes so eloquently that you feel like turning the pages quicker–not for the plots, but for the way she has expressed herself. It reads like poetry in the form of prose. The words flow together beautifully.

The stories left me with a pleasant sense of satisfaction at having spent my time in a worthwhile manner. I would certainly recommend that you read them for the excellent writing. I will also be looking at other books by this author because I’d like to experience more of her mesmerizing writing style.

(I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.)

About Poornima Manco

Poornima Manco

Always a voracious reader, Poornima started writing at the age of eight and never really stopped, although there were many dry spells.

She found her writing voice in 2009 when a short story of hers placed in an online competition run by The Guardian newspaper. Having re-discovered her first love, she started an online blog where she published many of her stories, thoughts and musings to begin with.

In 2018, her short stories were compiled into two books. She has just released the third one in that trilogy. Presently at work on her fourth book of short stories, she has also published a novella in 2019.

Most of her tales are set in India as her formative years were spent there. Born and raised in New Delhi, she moved to the United Kingdom in her twenties. Yet, she has never been able to sever the umbilical cord that ties her to her birthplace.

She loves reading, travelling and the company of good friends. She is married and has two teenage daughters.

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