Alchemy 2 – Book Review

Story of Sathya

Imprint Tranquebar Press
Format Paperback  
Extent 246pp
Pub date Nov-12
Rs 295
ISBN 9789382618034
Edited by  Sheba Karim
Genre Erotica
‘Alchemy, the Tranquebar book of Erotic short stories 2’ has been edited by Sheba Karim, popular for her adult novels. Skunk Girl was one such novel that brought her to the limelight. Apart from that, she has won several awards and few of her stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prize. Alchemy is an anthology of erotic short stories from different authors who have strived hard to present a wide gamut of emotions in their stories ranging from pain, pleasure, fantasy, cravings etc.
The stories are well crafted which clearly aims to depict the modern society – attraction, homosexuality, sodomy, infidelity, sexual exploitations etc. The set of short stories belongs to different genres and each one of them is unique. There is love, romance, and melancholy and moreover it’s erotic. Erotica is not just about sex or something that highlights sex. They are an integral part of a story; an ingredient when used appropriately can bring life to your story. I read the stories and I am flabbergasted at the attempts of each writer to bring life to their story. This book promises to take you to an intimate ride, full of sex; complexities, lust, desire and thirst. You would witness the sexual exploitations where the protagonists tread through the sexual fantasies and their desires. The stories are intense whether it be the sexual attraction of a man towards his maid, couples making under the bright sun and a constantly nagging little niece, a periscope which intrigues- presenting a vivid account of people in the surroundings, a young boy’s sexual awakening in a cinema bathroom, a homosexual account of a medical student who cherishes company of three men – men who fulfil his insatiable sexual urges, the life of a man who finds his lost love in a slut while nursing his broken marriage.
Each story has something to say. Some are outrageously erotic, while some of them are too beautiful, poignant to be precise. I read one of the stories written by Gudiya called ‘Clay’. It takes to a virtual journey of a young couple who meet every afternoon at the guys place to make out. A little imp in form of a young kid, his niece constantly nags and troubles him, a source of interruption as they busy indulge in exploring themselves. This happens time and again and the poor guy loses his cool. The baby, nicknamed Fish soon finds a new friend in form of Neharika, her Uncle Vidu’s love interest. The story is too good and the best part of it is that it makes sure that  you are glued to it. Another story talks about the sexual awakening of a young boy who goes for a movie with his Cousin Brother. I loved the smooth narrative; it was striking. I would rate it as one of the best story in that book. It is clean, though not erotic, but it speaks about a young boy’s journey as he is sexually exploited by a man in the cinema toilet. The man makes use of the little boy’s innocence to satisfy his transient sexual urge. The other story I would like to mention is an outrageously, disgracefully erotic story which talks about the journey of a 27 yr old homo-sexual medical student who loves men. He finds his love interest in Nirmal, Sunit and Lucky. I could not believe how one person could write something intense as this. It was expressive, no doubts. It contains various sexual jargons especially the one where the protagonists converse in Hindi. That reflects true face of India minus the homosexuality bit. I appreciate the writer’s zest in coming up with something as intense and gross as that. Gross, cheap – are the words which best describes this particular story. There is one more story which talks about a young couple who use abandoned apartments as a place to have sex. In an isolated place, they make out only to know that someday the abandoned apartments collapse and they find many people like them who indulged in such sexual activities.  The first story of the book talks about the sexual fantasies of a post modern Nepali man who fantasizes his maid Sumati. He is sexually attracted to his maid and I loved the way he has expressed his emotions and feelings. This story is  full of heavy set of  words. I loved the adjectives he used to describe the beauty of his maid. A GRE/TOEFL student could well make use of the words if he/she is in pursuit of new words. I believe that those words actually savored the story and got life into it, although I would say that it was not the best opening for a quality book like Alchemy. To keep it short, Alchemy is a collection of well crafted stories representing different   entities such as pain, pleasure, lust, love etc. Sheba has done a marvelous job as an Editor and of course, her story speaks it out. She gives a perfect end to the anthology with a beautiful, poignant story of couples nursing a damaged marriage. A beloved wife, sad and tattered after a unbearable shock owing to a miscarriage. The man satisfies his thirst from a slut masqueraded under the label of an escort. Brilliant! In short it was neat and clean. Some were soft, cute, and sweet and brought smile to my face and some were gross,disturbing and outrageously erotic as aforementioned. A good book for all book lovers who want to try a different genre. Erotica lovers should enjoy this book. 
 Rating 3/5

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The Solitary Writer
Step right up, it's Ste's show! Join me on my writing journey where I dish out witty tales, thought-provoking poems, and quirky musings on life. I'm a social justice warrior who sneaks in some humor wherever I can. Book, movie, and cultural critiques included. Buckle up, it's gonna be a wild ride!