Disclaimer: My copy came from one of the book’s authors, Sona.
‘Through the Mist’ is a collaboration of pens, voices and experiences that brings forth seamless stories. With an exquisite cadence and rhythm, the different characters and the settings come alive.
‘A Middle Class‘ story brings us Pari, the independent, headstrong girl whose parents want her to marry and settle down. Love has other views and comes unexpectedly through Rehan. In this comedy of errors, blunders pile on and the protagonists head a laugh riot.
In ‘A strange Life‘, Aarya, bored with her profession and disappointed with her personal life, finds an unexpected adventure that is a little too much for her to comprehend. Can she manifest the life she has wanted to have, by reclaiming her power?
Aakash cannot forget Anavya, the love of his life. His longing turns him into a poet and he hopes and waits for her, years later. ‘Languish in Love‘ is a delicate story that explores love, longing, pain.
‘The Lone Man‘ is hard hitting. All John wants is to forget his wife Sarah’s death and get on with his life. But his nightmares and visions would not let go of him.
‘Turn of the Tides‘ is set at sea and the men who have lived with the sea and loved her are the ones who fear her now. Can they conquer their dread and have the sea lose her power over them?
These stories are a surprising collection of different genres. The language is intense but the stories are crafted with incredible elegance. There are subtle twists and delightful conclusions.
Review: Pictures have been a way of chronicling the growth of mankind. Pictures have, throughout history, made impressions that have far exceeded their own existences as mere portraits or photographs. The Mona Lisa, anyone?
Through The Mist (TTM) is a book that draws on the power of a single photograph. The book’s cover (above) shows an image that has been used as inspiration for the five stories, by as many writers, featured in the book. The interesting thing is that all five of them collaborated on each of the stories. The authors are – Nimitha, Abirami, Adhithya, Rupali and Sona. The hyperlinks here are the links to their blogs.
It can be intriguing as to the ways in which interpretations can differ from person to person. Thus, while the opening story has a middle-class trip to the hillside, with a romantic plot or two thrown in, the third story is a reminiscence of the past, of a life lived and spent longing for the beloved. It is not a coincidence that I was reminded of these two stories while mentioning the differences in interpretation. The two are also, without doubt, the top two stories here in terms of impact. With five people working on every single story, achieving a cohesion of vision as well as making sure that each character is unique can be a big ask. But in the stories mentioned above, the flow, the voices of the various characters, the multiple-authors-and-confusing-idiosyncrasies that having multiple authors on a single story can bring, all achieve delicate balances.
The other three stories also have wildly differing takes on the picture. The second story has fantasy elements, with a mindbending twist thrown in; the fourth story talks of the pain of having lost a loved one. The fifth one takes yet another turn and shows us a person who is at the older end of the spectrum of life and fighting to stay in the game that belongs to the younger lot.
A quirky thing is that while the main protagonist of each of the first two stories is a woman, the next three all have men, of different ages, as their leads, despite all five authors being women themselves. In fact, in the whole team behind the book, only the publisher (and photographer) is a male, Mr. Jithin. While there’s no rule stopping them from doing this, it did feel intriguing to me. Partly because of the fact that all five are making their debuts. But, in taking up stories that peer into the mindset of the opposite gender, they show remarkable maturity and understanding. Kudos to the whole team, including the editor Aadhira, for the exemplary work.
Also, the ages of the protagonists make an interesting curve themselves. They start with a person in her early-to-mid 20s and then go down before, once again, picking the upward curve.
The stories explore themes of love, longing, loss and determination, among others. They pick up random events as variations on the photograph and make them something far more impactful, laying before us the joys and pains that a single image, one single shot, can cause to the viewer, because of what s/he has gone through in her lifetime. Nowhere is it clearer than in the final story, where an aged fisherman is fighting against Father Time and the sea, with the hill of the image providing the literal knockabout in his journey.
To conclude, although I do think that the stories could have benefitted from a couple of rewrites each, for a debut work, they hold great variety and promise for the authors.
Verdict: Through The Mist is an intriguing collection of stories that holds immense promise for the storytelling abilities of its authors.
Genre: Fiction, Travel, Mystery, Romance, Drama, Short Story, Anthology.
Have you read TTM? What is your take on the book? Kindly share your views in the comments section.