I don’t usually pick up books of short stories, but since I like to be a somewhat well-rounded reader, this Barnes and Nobles Discover New Writers summer 2012 pick appealed to me. “I am an Executioner: Love Stories” by Rajesh Parameswaran (say that name 3 times fast!) had a title that was intriguing, considering executioners kill people.
I started to summarize each short story, and then got a little bored of that tactic, but here are a few below:
The Strange Career of Dr. Raju Gopalarajan: This one confused me, although the author won an award for it. A man is fired from CompUSA, and decides to impersonate a doctor, only to, of course, not to so well. That part I understood, but the ending left me a little stumped.
Four Rajeshes: This is a story about a homosexual man who gives love in harsh ways (love accompanied by painful swats for whatever he feels like). One day, a man enters his life, bothers him immensely with his strange-looking writing, and disappears from his life, only to permeate his mind.
On the Banks of the Table River: What a cool story! Told from the alien’s perspective from the planet Lucina, these “insects” try to adapt to living on a planet where humans enjoy visiting. At the same time, it seems that a native child, Nippima, might have gotten herself into a little bit of trouble. Loved this story!
I also really enjoyed the title story, I am an Executioner. It was such an interesting take on a love story, and not what I was expecting!
Elephants in Captivity (Part One) was really painful for me to read. It’s super short but has ridiculously long footnotes that made it really confusing and unappealing. I didn’t even want to be not-confused with that story. If you pick up this book, I’d say that chapter is a skip!
All in all, the book was half enjoyable. I really did like some of the stories, especially the ones I could understand! However, some were confusing and made me feel like I wasn’t smart enough to “get” the message.
Barnes and Nobles Discover New Writers loved it, and the author has won awards for some of his short stories. I’m mixed on this. If you’re in for a challenge, and to enjoy some of the stories and maybe not others, go ahead and pick it up.
Have you read any AMAZING short stories?