Friday, May 4, 2018

Literary Friday: I Am an Executioner


Happy Friday and weekend, My Lovelies!  Recently I read an amazing collection of short stories, I Am an Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran.  

This book is part of Capsule Books' quarterly book subscription for spring.  I love this subscription box because each quarter readers choose from three book capsules that are meant to impart a particular mood or emotion.  The spring choices are red for romance, blue for nostalgia, and yellow for destiny.  I chose red for romance!


Let's take a look at the contents of the spring capsule:



I love the box that the three books are mailed in, and the above card is a copy of a handwritten note about the capsule.



Each capsule comes with three books, the letter, and a beautiful bookmark.









Above are the three books in the red for romance spring capsule.


I like that two of the selections are short story collections because I love short stories!  I like how I can pick up a book and read a story in one sitting before I do other activities.  I loved I Am an Executioner:Love Stories, and I'll read the other two soon before ordering the summer capsule.

According to Goodreads:

An explosive, funny, wildly original fiction debut: nine stories about the power of love and the love of power, two urgent human desires that inevitably, and sometimes calamitously, intertwine.

In I Am an Executioner, Rajesh Parameswaran introduces us to a cast of heroes—and antiheroes—who spring from his riotous, singular imagination. From the lovesick tiger who narrates the unforgettable opener, “The Infamous Bengal Ming” (he mauls his zookeeper out of affection), to the ex-CompUSA employee who masquerades as a doctor; from a railroad manager in a turn-of-the-century Indian village, to an elephant writing her autobiography; from a woman whose Thanksgiving preparations put her husband to eternal rest, to the newlywed executioner of the title, these characters inhabit a marvelous region between desire and death, playfulness and violence. At once glittering and savage, daring and elegant, here are wholly unforgettable tales where reality loops in Borgesian twists and shines with cinematic exuberance, by an author who promises to dazzle the universe of American fiction.


My Review:

First of all, don't be fooled by the title;  "Love Stories" is a stretch in most cases.  I'm so happy that this book was included in the capsule because I don't think I would have read it otherwise even though it was a Washington Post Book of the Year.  There are nine stories in the collection, and I loved all of them but one.  That's high praise for a short story collection, and the one story I didn't care for was about an elephant writing her autobiography, and there are COPIOUS footnotes written by....I couldn't quite figure out who wrote them because I found it too tedious to read!

Next, I'll focus on my favorite stories.  In "The Infamous Bengal Ming," a tiger truly loves his zoo handler, but sadly he mauls him.  He didn't mean it, honestly!  And that was the beginning of a series of mishaps and misunderstandings.

In "Demons," a woman believes that a careless whisper wishing her husband wasn't there was overheard by the asura ganas, or small demons in the air all around us.  These beings say "Ashtu, ashtu" at random times, and if they say it simultaneously to a person thinking or saying something, then it happens. The woman's husband dies shortly after she wishes him gone on Thanksgiving, and when she goes to a brown Thanksgiving party no one really listens when she tells them her husband is dead on their living room floor.  (I'm not being racist when I say brown party.  My Indian friend calls them that.)

The third story I'll mention is sort of a satirical sci-fi, postcolonialism story entitled "On the Banks of the Table River (Planet Lucina, Andromeda Galaxy, AD 2319)".  It's about a humanoid insect planet that has been colonized by Earth for its natural resources.  The main character is an undertaker, and he has a rebellious daughter.

Please understand that I can't do this book justice.  You're going to read my review and think I'm a crazy loon, but trust me, Parameswaran can write!  This book was first published in 2012, and I read somewhere that he's currently working on a novel.


What have you been reading lately?


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill




2 comments:

  1. What an interesting collection and I love the packaging and designs of the covers. I'm not a big short story fan overall so it's good to hear that this one has quite a few worthwhile ones!

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  2. What a fun subscription box, I love that you get a choice of themes each time! Right now I'm reading While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, by Wendy Wax about 3 very different women living in the same apt. building, it had me hooked immediately! I need to try a short story collection, I read in spurts, that would be perfect for me! Thanks RJ!
    Jenna

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