Review of "Inklings," a collection of short stories by Aparna Warrier

Very short stories and other babies born of Ink.

Stories tagged under urban life, oblique humor, romance, satire and even the purpose of life. In this book, you will find urban-style, simple prose, sprinkled with thought-provoking metaphors along the way. Inklings offers a glimpse into the world of intelligent flash fiction, which, while not a popular genre in traditional publishing, is making an impact in online literature.

For an idea of what to expect, an introduction of five of the stories in this anthology follows
1. Intoxicated by Impossibility - The story of one guy who can't fall asleep because of one girl who's not even there. Or is she?
2. Who wrote the Rules? - Existential angst clubbed with rebellion against The System.
3. The revolt of the coconut trees - Inspired by an academic study published in the Journal of Trauma, 1984, titled "Injuries due to falling coconuts".
4. So what? - What happens after the Storm.
5. Cheeky - A story about that chubby part of a certain person's face.

I have mixed feelings about this collection. The pieces range from short stories to what could be considered flash fiction, while still other selections fall into neither category, including “In a new light,”Always” and “Oil on canvas.” These pieces read more like poetry or flash-vignettes than anything else, collections of descriptive words that capture a fleeting moment or emotion rather than tell a story.

The stories in the collection vary widely in both topic and style, from rather abstract social commentary pieces to tenderly written tales of love lost and found. Warrier is a talented, succinct writer whose prose is both engaging and gripping, but some of the pieces are more well executed than others, leaving the collection feeling unbalanced. The first two selections in particular feel forced, as though they are trying to be artistic but not quite carrying it off. However, the stories improve as the collection goes on. My favorite piece, “Crash and die,” is one of the last stories in the collection and is a particularly lovely example of how powerful Warrier’s clean, no-nonsense writing style can be.

With such variation in style and quality, the overall impression is of a talented writer who is still finding her artistic voice. My interest peaked, I look forward to seeing how Warrier’s style develops in the future.

3/5 stars
Reviewed by Aubrey Bennet

Buy this collection on Amazon US or B&N.


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