I wrote recently about falling face down on the road. Do you know that sense you have when you know you are going to fall down, yet you can’t do anything about it? That sense that makes you anticipate the pain, and helplessness moments before you actually scrape your skin and dent your ego… That is how this book, The Rude Tenderness of Our Hearts, makes you feel. As you read you know it is not going to be a happy ending, yet you can’t help but read on.
The Rude Tenderness of Our Hearts is a collection of seven short stories. But the best part of the book is the preface. It is in these couple of pages that the author confesses to his own emotions and what it is actually to write. I think this is one part of the book that I loved, for it was honest and felt like the author was letting us in on a secret, an honest one at that.
Coming to the stories, seven of them! I figure the name of this book is kind of apt because every story was rude. Short stories are tricky; to get everything written out and plotted in just a few pages is a daunting task. Reading is the easy part in such cases. But I say these stories were rude because they do not make reading easy. They captivate you. You are left wondering about characters, futures, hows and whys. And trust me, somewhere within, you feel pain and anguish. And I think it is especially rude for just a few pages to make me feel that way.
It is for this precise reason that Saket Suryesh needs to be commended as well. He has worked his magic into every story in The Rude Tenderness of Our Hearts. There will always be favourites that every reader will have in a collection of short stories, but in this case, one will be hard-pressed to pick a favourite. Each story is sharp and crisp, nary an unnecessary word anywhere, so well written that it was a joy to read. You can finish reading this book within an hour. (If you are very sensitive, you may also shed a few tears during that time.)
But I will repeat myself when I say this book is like falling down because even when you have finished these stories will linger in your mind. Like knowing those scrapes exist when you feel the pain, some incident will definitely have you recollecting one of these stories often.
It takes a great author to write such gripping short stories, and I am glad I read this book.
Definitely, go read The Rude Tenderness of Our Hearts if you are interested in reading short story perfection.