The House and other stories is a book of short stories by diplomat turned author Amit Dasgupta. Short stories have always been appealing to me . The three short stories have the city of Calcutta (Kolkata) as the central character. The bylanes of the city come alive in the sentences, the characters in the stories are everyday people we meet in Calcutta – the chai wala in the corner of the street, an old man who believes every word written in his horoscope, an elderly couple whose son lives abroad.
The first story is ‘Mohua’, the story of a large dilapidated villa at the end of the street the protagonist often took during his walks. A girl named Mohua once lived there. The mystery and stories surrounding the house attracts the protagonist and he finds solace in every visit to the house till one day he feels he is home.
The second story ‘The Little Red Book’, is the story of an elderly man who has lost his wife and is trying to get along with his life. He briefly visits his daughter in Germany and then returns home to Dover lane, Kolkata. He discovers a horoscope that he starts living by. The horoscope predicts his own death next year. He starts writing a diary to his daughter till something unexpected changes everything.
The third story, is the title story of the book – ‘The house’. It is also the most touching story of the three. It revolves around the life of a grief stricken elderly woman whose husband has died and has left her a house in Kolkata. She is invited by her son to live with him in the US, she returns home to find that she is unable to live in her own house any more.
The three short stories are lovely to read and have very unexpected endings. The stories emerge sometimes from the realm of the death. While the first story is of a dead lady and her mysterious house, the other two stories are about people dealing with life after losing someone close. The writing style is simple and descriptive as the city and the characters come to life around you while you read further into each story. ‘The House and other stories’ is a wonderful short read with stories that stay with you long.
The House and other stories is published in India by Yoda press and is available here:
Published on Nov 14 2017. Revised on Aug 14, 2018