Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Book Review: Circus Folks and Village Freaks by Aparna Upadhyay Sanyal.

The writer very kindly sent me this gorgeous book for review in June.
Thank you :) 
All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Book: Circus Folks and Village Freaks.

Author: Aparna Upadhyay Sanyal

Pages: 180

Publisher: Vishwakarma Publications

Read On: Hardback edition pictured above

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Meet the beautiful people of the Circus, and the freaks who live in the Village next to them. Mangled, jangled, misunderstood, all find place in the rich tapestry of this book. 

Siamese twins separate to lose half a heart each, and find snake-man and tiger-taming lovers. A man bitten by a crocodile becomes a God, and a Devadasi woos the entire countryside with her culinary artistry. 
Fates intertwined lead sometimes to tragedy, sometimes happy summits of fame. A clown finds his place in Hollywood and mute animals break unspeakable chains. A twisted man falls in love with a mirror and a white man is unmade by the Indian sun. 
In this book are tales for every season and every reason. Tales of human depravity that take innocent lives, and of a murderers’ insanity that follows, a fitting revenge by nature, red in tooth and claw. 
These stories are told in the form of narrative poems in rhyming couplets. 
Look inside and you will find, you have been to this Village. Surely, you have been to this Circus too.
Things I Liked: 

1. When I agreed to review this book, I thought this was a collection of short stories. Only its not. It's a collection of poetry. Verse. It was a surprise. I don't normally read a lot of poetry, it's just a personal preference and had I known this was book of poems I probably would have declined it. But this book was a pleasant surprise. One that I am glad I read.

2. The writing is beautiful and the couplets seems to be constructed effortlessly and with so much life. These poems were a delight to read.

3. The book itself is gorgeous.

4. Each poem is preceded by some very whimsy art. Some odd (to match the subject matter) and some just beautiful.

5. The topics these 18 poems touches upon topics that are so diverse and relevant and important to our lives and times. Homosexuality, prejudice, small mindedness, illicit love affairs, mental illness and violence. Each of these hard hitting topics is handled with so much care and grace.

6. So many of these poems and these stories are so deliciously odd and strange and weird and fun that is was such a ride reading them.

7. Similarly, some were so powerful and sad and just heart breaking that they hit you hard and will linger on for a while.

8. I really loved that this was such an accessible work of poetry. Anyone can read and enjoy these poems. Even if, like me, you aren't a regular poetry person.

9. Some of these tales are dark and macabre and if that is something you enjoy, a little walk on the dark side of the human psyche this is a good book to pick up.

10. The thing I loved best about this book is just how real it felt. All of the characters came across as real people. Odd, misfits, living on the fringe of society, deformed, judged and abhorred- these were real people. People you can't help but root for. People only looking for connection and community and love. They will break your heart and stay there long after you've turned the last page.

Rating: 4/5

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