That was in 2011. I appeared in a few blogs for interviews and guest posts hosted by a few very kind blog friends, made sundry posts on Facebook, then stopped. It was an experiment in publishing an ebook, and that’s where I left it. Till date I have no idea how many copies have sold on Amazon– those excel sheets intimidate me, and since I figure I can’t be making more than the price of a dozen or so coffees, I’ve let sleeping dogs lie. (I’ll never make a successful Indie author, I can see that, sigh.)
Imagine my surprise when I received a tweet recently, from a reader who was recommending my book. On a whim, I googled up A to Z Stories of Life and Death, and these are the reviews I found:
At the Conscientious Reader by Stephanie Hasty: “I gotta tell you, I’m pretty impressed with these stories and they remind me a lot of Annie Proloux’s Wyoming Stories and Sue Miller’s book Inventing the Abbott’s and Other Stories. They are sparse and true and sexy and tragic. They are about life and each one has a taste of bittersweet.
At Echoes of the Pen by Paul Ruddock: “As a European reader, I was captivated by the author’s accounts of life in other cultures, many of which are saddening and hard to comprehend; our (European) notions of poverty and depravation are quickly turned on their heads by the honest and sensitive way in which they form the backdrop to the stories. Elements of the storyline in each case often deliberately remain unwritten, i.e. implied or hinted at, forcing the reader to use their imagination and interpret each story in their own way and really think about what they are reading. Some of the stories conclude with a glimmer of hope for the future set against the harrowing circumstances of what’s gone before; others do not, which for me really gives them added authenticity – life isn’t all about happy endings.”
At Keep Calm and Write On by Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie:” Twenty-six bite size stories comprise A to Z Stories of Life and Death by D. Biswas. In just a few paragraphs, Biswas manages to tell a complete, captivating story.”
At Different Frontiers by Fabio Fernandes: “She decided to blog not posts, but short narratives. Narratives of love, death, pain and hope. If you like flash fiction, this collection was made for you. Biswas’ stories are short, (very) sharp shocks – cultural, emotional shocks.”
Animal My Soul by Martin Raybould “Damyanti describes herself as someone who “lives more in the head than the world” but these stories are far from being disengaged from the real world. They tell of people torn by indecision or intent on some desperate course of action, of abusers and victims ….and of fish! In P for Perilous, a character seems to speak for her: “The stories I have told you, they’re quirky no doubt but they’re real, somehow”.
In book form you can set aside a few minutes to sample these “bite-sized stories” one at a time or binge on them all at once. To savour their flavour best, I’d recommend the former .
My favourite opening line is “Raju woke up each morning to the sight of his mother’s rear end” in O for Okay and the story I liked the most is I Have A Secret , the story of a 50-year-old woman isolated by unexpressed homosexual inclinations who painfully reflects “I know now why no man’s body could ever satisfy me. Not even my husband who gave me three children”.
Whatever the subject matter, the compassionate voice of the writer draws you into these worlds and, like all the best short stories, what she leaves out is as important as what is included.“
I have seen reviews of the book before on Amazon, Smashwords and Goodreads, but the ones above are new and completely unexpected because I put no effort into promoting the book beyond leaving them in the sidebar of this blog and Amlokiblogs.
I’m so thankful to these readers who found the book who knows how, read it, and devoted time and effort in publishing a review on their blogs. This gives me so much hope– that my writing perhaps has a life beyond my pen and paper.
It makes me feel happy that someone, somewhere, read my stuff, and liked it enough to spend time writing about it– with no effort or knowledge at all on my part! I see writers and reviewers at odds everywhere, but my reviewers, thankfully and incredibly, seem to have only kindness for me.
Makes me wonder– I have flash pieces lying here and there, should I collect them, or edit and write new ones and make another book? On this blog I have these that I could find that aren’t already in the collection: Hymn of Faith, Shadow of Your Smile, The Last Day of a Southern Summer, Beautiful Eyes, Let’s go for a walk– You and I, It wasn’t her fault. Then there are the 26 stories I wrote for the A to Z Challenge in 2012.
Maybe after I’m through the second draft of my WIP, I’ll find all these scattered stories, cull them, replenish them, and do another collection of A to Z Stories.
Have you ever received unexpected positive reviews? Do you write or read flash fiction? Would you buy a collection like A to Z Stories of Life and Death?