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Book Review: The Arithmetic Of Breasts and Other Stories by Rochelle Potkar


Title: The Arithmetic Of Breasts and Other Stories
Author: Rochelle Potkar
Paperback: 79 pages
Publisher: Amazon(November 1st 2013)
Genre: Fiction, Short-stories
Read: eBook
Stars: ***/5
Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart

Summary: (Goodreads)

This cluster of 7½ literary short stories presents to you the romantic-sexual facets of:
Narain who lusts for Munika, hypnotized by her bosom in The Arithmetic of Breasts, and old Jaganlal who wants a favour from young Dia in The Room with a Sea-view.
Jackie who is in love with Nic in Sky Park, and the surgeon in Dr. Love who is changing much more than Sneha’s hairline, nose, lip and chin.
Shonali and Neel who are realizing that infidelity might not be such an easy thing in The Scent of a Conscience, and a woman who walks the tight rope between tradition and sexual exploitation in A place they call Scary.
And, Sunil who meets the woman of his desires in What Men Want through an adult dating site.
Through these stories, Rochelle Potkar explores the intensely personal ‘unrelationship’ that exists alongside its conventional and socially articulate twin, the relationship.

My Review:

Note: Thanks Rochelle Potkar for offering me your book to read and review 🙂

Cover: Simple and Sensuous

Paper and font: So-so…

Readability, language: Fairly Simple…

Why did I choose this book: ha ha, when I first saw the book I read the title as ‘Arithmetic of Beasts and Other Stories’, it was only when I was half-way through the first story that I noticed the ‘R’ in the title. 😀

This is a collection of 71/2 stories about the love lives of men and women, their lusts, amorous adventures, sexual quirks, and such. What all the stories have in common is the exploration of relationships and couplings outside of marriage.

The title is an interesting one even though I missed the ‘R’ 😀 and it’s the same as the first short story, though that one isn’t too short and is most probably the longest in the collection. The cover is a simple one yet sensuous. There seems to be a newer cover too with a mix of sculpture, books, spectacles, an apple, etc. but I liked the older version more.

The stories are interesting and well written. This book is not a fast read as each story leaves you with thoughts to mull over and absorb.

I’m not a great fan of erotica so, some bits of the book had me blushing pink and making sure I didn’t have an audience but over all there isn’t too much of it. I’d say it’s more sensual that erotic.

Most of the stories are set in Metropolitan India, when illicit affairs a fast becoming common place. I also felt some sarcasm from Potkar (or I hope it was) when her male characters talked about women. Their attitude, thoughts and approach rankled and raised anger as the feminist in me wanted to shake and throttle them.

The characters across the stories seem well thought out, at least from the perspective of short stories. There’s Narain the mathematician who sees geometry in anatomy, Sheha who agrees to change her identity for the man she loves, Neel who wants to cheat his wife but does not like being on the receiving end, and Sunil who finds ‘the’ woman on a dating site. There are others but these are the ones who stayed with me even after I closed the book.

Like I was saying before, the stories are thought provoking. I hadn’t expected this when I took up the book but I’m glad to report that the book came as a nice surprise. I found myself shushing Che when he disturbed me in the middle of the stories, and I don’t do that very often.

Each story had depth and needed my attention so I didn’t miss the crux for it all. Potkar’s style of writing is what I call simple-complex. Simple language, complex thought. 😀

I still had my favourites though. I enjoyed reading Dr. Love, Room with a Sea-view, What Men Want and The Arithmetic of Breasts. My least liked one were Sky Park and A Place they call Scary.

Ok, this has been a rather long review for a collection of short stories. So, on to verdict. Over all I enjoyed the book. I wish some of the stories had had more to them but if you are someone who likes sensual stuff and stories that make you think, this book is for you.

About the Author:
Rochelle Potkar is a fiction writer and poet. She lives in Mumbai and is working on her next book Dreams of Déjà vu – a speculative novel. She can be found on Twitter at @rochellepotkar

Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart

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