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Review - Indian Fiction - Love, Peace and Happiness by Rituraj Verma

I remember reading a couple of years ago that authors should restrain themselves from writing short story collections.  Apparently, they never sell.  I'm not so sure if the goalposts haven't changed.  In today's world,  short fiction is on a definite upsurge.  I'm not talking about print media or books.  The truth is that there is tremendous scope for short stories in a fast moving world where readers need a quick fix of satisfying fiction.  While print media seems to be on the decline and writers are taking pay cuts to stay in print (yeah, you should have seen my last pay check!  Or rather, you shouldn't see it.  You'd die of shock), the world of digital publishing is opening up and offering new, improved opportunities.  There are many short story collections for sale on Amazon and even short books, with stories (novelettes, rather) as short as ten thousand words.

This short story collection by Rituraj Verma, Love, Peace and Happiness is a seriously innovative concept.  The short stories deal with basic premises facing Indian middle class people in their daily lives.  However, if the ending does not meet with the reader's satisfaction, the reader is free to visit the author's website and find an alternative ending.  Or even write their own.  Talk about an interactive readership!  I have read heaps of books and haven't yet seen anything like this.

The stories and their various concepts are entertaining. Living as I do in India, I could relate to the characters.  However, while I found the concept of 'pick your own ending' interesting, I chose not to go down that road.  I'm a published short story writer myself and I am firmly of the view that a story can only have one ending.  Whether you like it or not.  I wouldn't have gone towards choosing alternative endings for any of the stories I've read. in this collection.

The book is written by an Indian for Indians.  I liked it, but I'm not really sure if it would be of interest to international readers.  Yet, who knows?  It's really competitively priced on Amazon and even if you buy and find you didn't enjoy it, you haven't lost a great deal of money.  So if you find the concept interesting, go ahead and splash out.  I dare say you'll enjoy it.  It is full of problems and situations peculiar to India and Indian life.  The book is frank and open about sexual matters, using language which is neither romantic nor erotic.   Clinical is the world which springs to mind!

My favourite story was the opening one, about a couple on holiday a year after marriage, coming to the realization that it just isn't working.  I think, in a way, instead of writing a book of short stories the author could have written a novel (or a novella, you can even write novellettes of 10,000 words now) of each story and released each one separately. The author's style, simple language and in-your-face frankness will grow on you after a while even if you feel it is a bit too straight for comfort.

I do recommend it - and you can take it whatever way you want to, alternative endings or not.As an author, Rituraj Verma is committed to satisfying his readers and he certainly gave me a good read and characters which stayed with me after I'd finished each story.

Just remember that it is possible to pick your own ending in life, and that can be done by keeping ourselves in a good mood and feeding on as much positive energy as possible.

You can buy the ebook on Amazon.                    


  1. Good article, Maria. As a writer, I believe in all the story as well the novel.
    Blessings ~ Maxi


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