So folks, she’s back again! And this time not as the columnist who tickles those “Funny Bones”, but as a fiction writer, well, a short story writer to be precise. Twinkle Khanna aka Mrs. Akshay Kumar is out with her second book. The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad hit the stands a couple of days ago. Her earlier work of non-fiction, despite all the negative criticisms, did quite keep me entertained. This time around, Twinkle Khanna brings four women-centric short stories packed into one paperback. With 287 pages I managed to complete it entirely in one sitting. It indeed is a light read.
Let’s get to the first story, about young Lakshmi Prasad – a simple narrative of female empowerment in rural India. It is the story of courage and hope when Lakshmi stands up against the patriarchal practices in society and guides them to look beyond. Noni Appa, in the second story finds love blossoming in her life during her twilight years. The third story of Elisa finds her searching for love over multiple marriages. But the most inspiring of them, is the fictionalized story of the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, inventor of low-cost sanitary napkin machines. This Padmashri Awardee and his life have always intrigued me. It was a pleasure to read a story loosely based on his life.
All the stories broadly touch upon issues concerning women, their rights and concerns,mixed along with Twinkle’s signature style humor. Fairly simple writing, except for the use of unnecessary “superfluous” adjectives at junctures in the story. The underlying issues the book addresses isn’t something we haven’t already heard about. But of course they do need to be spoken about repetitively in a patriarchal society such as ours!!
So did I like the book? I wouldn’t really call it a great piece of fiction, but definitely appreciate the attempt made by Mrs. Funny Bones.
The art of writing short stories requires a certain skill, of being able to invoke the right emotion in those few pages and lines. And this is where Twinkle’s stories fail miserably. I wasn’t drawn to the characters nor did they leave a lasting impression. The writing was indeed simple, but it seemed more like fictitious commentary. Her tongue-in-cheek humor seemed way too out of place in many parts of the story. Though I was glad the stories had a happy end to it, they seemed blur and hurried. Agree that these are short stories, but the rate of build-up of the story and its winding up, just didn’t seem to correlate.
The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad failed to leave a lasting impression. Twinkle Khanna is surely better at writing weekly columns. Fiction doesn’t really seem to be her forte.