Smita Das Jain’s ‘Twisted Tales and Turns: A Journey through the Unexpected’ is a captivating anthology comprising twenty unique stories. The anthology is thoughtfully divided into four sections, each dedicated to a distinct theme: the paranormal, the futuristic, realism, and love. These section titles offer readers a tantalizing glimpse of the narrative diversity within.
Smita is a dear friend and I relish the opportunity to explore her literary creations. Nonetheless, I have set aside personal bias to offer an honest review of this book.
The title and eerie cover of the book immediately piqued my curiosity, drawing me into its world of mysteries and surprises. Smita’s introductory note further heightened my anticipation, preparing me for a journey filled with unexpected twists and turns.
However, akin to most collections of short stories, this one proved to be a mixed bag—some tales left a profound impact, while others fell short of expectations. My overall rating is an average across all stories.
1. Out of this World – All stories in this section feature characters who are “Out of this World.”
- The Figure in the Charpoy – 2.75/5
This poignant tale of longing and unfulfilled desires, while well-written, tended towards predictability. The anticipated twist didn’t deliver the level of surprise I had hoped for.
- Top of the World – 4.75/5
Despite the subtle hints sprinkled throughout, this story caught me off guard, leaving me in tears at its conclusion. It stands as one of my favorites in the collection.
- Masterpiece – 3.25/5
A spine-tingling and twisted narrative!
- Till We Meet Again – 2.5/5
My least preferred story in this section, lacking novelty in its plot and featuring forced twists.
- It Starts With Us – 2.95/5
This dual-narrative tale in the second person is well-crafted but could benefit from greater conciseness.
2. Not too Far into the Future – This section delves into stories set in the future, covering a broad spectrum of topics.
- Throwback to History – 2.75/5
The first story is a short flash fiction that explores changing women’s roles and societal perceptions.. It’s well-crafted but not particularly memorable.
- For a Better World – 3.75/5
This futuristic yet realistic and unsettling story presents an intriguing premise and commendable execution, even if it didn’t align with my genre preferences.
- Guided Missiles, Misguided Men – 3.75/5
Featuring an ingenious plot and impeccable execution, this story could have been even more engaging if shorter.
- Kaleidoscope – 3.5/5
A narrative with an intriguing premise and profound philosophical undertones.
- Too Hot a Bot – 4/5
My favorite story in this section, offering a gripping narrative from start to finish.
3. All Doesn’t End Well – In this section, the stories lack positive endings. Unlike the previous section, these stories are more realistic.
- The Mask of Pretence – 3/5
This story, with a cinematic quality, explores themes of love, friendship, and career. While the twist wasn’t entirely unexpected, it was well-executed.
- The Perfect Abode – 3.75/5
Tackling a sensitive topic with the right level of sensitivity.
- My Knight in White – 4.25/5
A story that strikes the right emotional chords.
- Great Things in Life – 2.75/5
An overly intricate narrative that didn’t resonate as strongly as I had hoped. The last line, however, left a lasting impression.
- The Nothingness of Being – 4.5/5
My favorite story in this section, with an intriguing title and a perfectly fitting twist.
4. Love Comes in All Hues – In this section, we encounter stories centered around the theme of love.
- The Consent – 4.5/5
A beautiful story culminating in a heart-stirring conclusion.
- The Wedding Dance – 2.75/5
A sweet story, though lacking novelty in its premise. Nevertheless, the writing shines.
- Purchased Love – 4.75/5
An exceptional work that challenges stereotypes. The character development, portrayal of diverse attitudes, beliefs, and thought processes, all shines brightly.
- Everything Different About Me – 3.75/5
This story could have benefitted from a slightly longer narrative. Little Riya’s wisdom, “Life is a lot less lonely when you learn to befriend yourself,” resonated deeply with me.
- A Matter of Her Identity – 2.75/5
Well-written but treading familiar territory in terms of tropes.
Twisted Tales and Turns: A Journey through the Unexpected has stories that demonstrate Smita’s versatility as a storyteller. Pick up this collection for a diverse reading experience.
The book is available for free on KU.
|Title: Twisted Tales and Turns: A Journey through the Unexpected
|Author: Smita Das Jain
|Publication date: 23 July 2023
|No. of Pages: 161
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About the Author
Smita Das Jain is a writer by passion and writes every day. Samples of her writing are visible in her home office, her sunny terrace garden, her husband’s car, and the kitchen napkins. Her debut short story collection A Slice of Life was named among India’s top three fiction works by Writefluence, and her debut novel A Price to Love found a mention in the Top 50 books of 2022 by Delhi Wire. Smita’s award-winning short stories have found prominence in various anthologies around the globe. She was also shortlisted for the Women’s Web Orange Flower Awards 2022 and 2023 for her writing.
Get in touch with the author on her website.