We first meet the little Prince in the Desert of Sahara, asking for the drawing of a sheep. We meet him last in the same place, falling as gently as a tree, without a sound.
‘It is here that the little prince appeared on Earth, and disappeared.’
The Little Prince is a classic novella by French aristocrat, writer, and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It starts with the narrator crashing into the desert, and then meeting the young prince. The prince is childlike, but not childish. He talks about mundane things – about his life on his asteroid B 612, about his lovely Rose, his tamed Fox and the others that he meet while on his way to Earth.
The book gives us an insight into how deeply are we bounded by ‘matters of consequences’, how we as grown-ups slowly start forgetting the little things that made us happy and inspired us, as a child.
When Vaishnavi from vcreative learnt that I was reading this book in September, she made sure that I saw its movie too. The movie has a different POV, that of a young girl’s. It even explores the story after the book is finished. It’s a really beautiful movie. Embedding its trailer below:
I liked the book ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ , but I loved its companion novel ‘There’s Something About Sweetie’; which is kind of surprising considering the fact that I tend to stay away from romance books.
There’s Something About Sweetie deals majorly with Fatphobia. But even if you’ve never been body shamed personally, there’s still so much you can relate to while reading this book. The desi rep is so accurate, especially the parents of both the protagonists.
In this sketch I’ve tried to depict the scene when Sweetie and Ashish meet for the very first time, and she ends up winning the duel- err, a running race. Oh yes, they start running the moment they meet.
I loved Sweetie’s zeal of proving herself, her strength and confidence through her secret Sassy Sweetie Project (although she couldn’t keep that secret from Ashish for long ).
The details about her athletic events and Ashish’s basketball matches were interesting too – which would be fun to watch on a screen. Which reminds me, there’s an upcoming Netflix series based on these books called Mismatched; so keep an eye for that, you guys!
Thank you Faguni for introducing me to Sandhya Menon’s books! Check Faguni’s blog for more South Asian recommendations.
I read Dark Tales as part of a book club. It’s one of the first book clubs that I have participated in – ‘Women In Literature’ club, where we read one book per month by strong women authors. The club is hosted by two lovely women- Aritri and Mridula (@theliquidsunset and @ecstatic_yet_chaotic respectively, on Instagram). Dark Tales was the ‘Book Of The Month’ for July. Had it not been for this club, I don’t think I would ever have read it, looking at its title and the genre. But I’m glad that I did read it.
I have stayed away from watching horror for a very long time now. The last horror or paranormal movie that I remember watching is ‘ When a Stranger Calls’, when I was about 12. My entire teen was a story of ups and downs- except it was mostly downs. I had a really bad spell of low self-esteem, less-confidence, etc. for more than a decade. I only realized that I was suffering from it after I came out of this spell, feeling better than ever. I’ve never before touched a proper horror book in my life- except for some children-horror books. I found myself too weak for this genre. I hated it when horror and psychological thrillers in some way, triggered my worst fears and made me even more self-conscious. But currently, I am in a much peaceful mental space than I have been in the past many years, so i thought about giving this book a try.
Dark Tales is a collection of 17 short stories. Each story brings forth a different element. I won’t say that I really liked all these stories, in fact, I liked very few of these stories for their plot. But the fact that I was able to read this genre, after all, made all the difference for me. The book isn’t a regular spooky kind of horror, to be upfront, except a couple of stories. It’s a very subtle kind of horror- the kind which we see and observe in our everyday life, albeit a bit exaggerated with certain kinds of emotions and plot twists. My review could be biased based on three grounds: I’ve read very few classics, and liked even fewer; this is my first proper horror book; and also I don’t remember reading a collection of short stories like this before.
The author’s portrayal of emotions like fear, anger, etc. is so real that it haunts us even when the story isn’t spooky. It is said that Shirley Jackson, in reality, had lived a very sad and terrible marital life and these feelings did come spilling out very evidently through her stories. It’s as though she wrote a small part of her life in each of her small stories.
In some of the stories like ‘The Good Wife’ and ‘What a Thought’, the author plays with the mind of the reader till the very end and then drops a sudden plot twist. Making us believe in the flow of the plot initially, but ending in quite unexpected manner, like deceiving the reader itself!
Her style of writing changes twice or thrice by the time we reach the final story in the book. There was a case of Unreliable Narrator in the story ‘Paranoia’ wherein the protagonist was being stalked the entire time and we as readers, felt like walking in his shoes. The entire story was on uneven grounds, there was no firm narration to it – making us paranoid about which character to actually trust.
The foreword by Ottessa Moshfegh gives away some spoilers in the very beginning but it also perfectly summarizes and comments upon the stories and the writing style of the writer. This is one of those books where the foreword shouldn’t be missed at any cost. It was very necessary to set up the background, before the readers dive into the book.
My ratings: 4/5 ⭐
If you do decide to pick this book up sometime, it isn’t at all necessary to complete it in one shot. You can read the stories separately as they are completely independent of each other. If you are someone like me who has never ventured into this genre before, but would like to someday – this book is a good one to start with. It has just the right amount of darkness and spookiness for a beginner.
Is there a genre that you always seem to run away from? What do you think about horror stories?