Rochelle Potkar brings Bombay to the readers with Bombay Hangovers. The stories are about regular people leading mundane everyday lives. But they cut across class, caste and religion lending a diversity to the collection. They tug hard at human emotions. The author has depicted them with a brutal honesty.
Rochelle plays with the flow. It is flowery at times, and taut at others. And yet irrespective of the way they flowed, the stories swept me away and plummeted me into a place amidst the characters.
A fleeting sense of nostalgia gripped me as I travelled all over Bombay with the stories.
There are 16 short stories in this book. Each story is uniquely narrated, and is set in diverse settings. But they all have the underlying human connection and heart-felt emotions. The characters are not flawless, and their dilemmas and troubles are quite close to reality as well.
Mist set in Kamathipura revolves around the lives of sex workers. Their sad lives, plummeting hopes and desires, battles for survival make for a stirring read. However, for some strange reason, the POV changed midway. Starting in the third person, it moved to first hallway through.
Euphoria is my favorite story from this book, for the strong message it sends.
For a few stories, there is no clear cut connection between the title and the story. E.g. ‘Salad’ is not a story about vegetables, but about two women. It’s a fairly well narrated story, just that I couldn’t find any justification for the title. Similar is the case with ‘Slice.’
Some stories left me confused, while a few ignited a craving for more. There’s mildly explicit content in this book, and thus it may not be suitable for younger readers. Also, the treatment and narration felt a little harsh, and left me feeling uncomfortable.
It’s not an easy read. It’s not a book for every reader. But for the select few who like stories which seep in slowly, trickling like tiny droplets and stirring the senses till the emotions absorb you whole.
It’s less of a book, and more a work of art—to be enjoyed by true connoisseurs of art.
I got this ARC from Discovery Reedsy in exchange for an honest review.
Wordsopedia rating 3.5/5
|Title: Bombay Hangovers||Author: Rochelle Potkar|
|Publisher: Vishwakarma Publications||Publication date: February 22, 2021|
|Genre: Fiction – Literary||Format: Paperback|
|ISBN: 9788195012633||No. of Pages: 216|
About the Author
Rochelle Potkar is an alumna of Iowa’s International Writing Program (2015) and a Charles Wallace Writer’s fellow, University of Stirling (2017). She is the author of Four Degrees of Separation and Paper Asylum – shortlisted for the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020. Her poetry film Skirt showcased on Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland. Her poems To Daraza won the 2018 Norton Girault Literary Prize UK, and The girl from Lal Bazaar was shortlisted at the Gregory O’ Donoghue International Poetry Prize, 2018. As critic, her reviews have appeared in Wasafiri, Sahitya Akademi’s Indian Literature, Asian Cha, and Chandrabhaga. Widely-anthologized, she has read her poetry in India, Bali, Iowa, Macao, Stirling, Glasgow, Hongkong, Ukraine, Hungary, Bangladesh, and the Gold Coast, Australia. Her short story collection Bombay Hangovers is due soon. Her first screenplay ‘A Brown coat’ was a semi-finalist at the Atlanta Film Festival Screenwriting competition 2020.
Get in touch with the author on her website.