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SUPERBOOK: Kleptomania by Manjula Padmanabhan

This book is this collection of ten truly versatile stories set in the contemporary urban populace.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 12:57 IST
Kirit Kiran
Kirit Kiran

Manjula Padmanabhan
Price — Rs 200
Publication — Penguin

Brilliant and unpredictable; and all the reasons to read this book are spelt out. Manjula Padmanabhan, flying on her wings of imagination, within the confines of a concrete jungle, wields a pen that gives a dramatic feel, sharp like a scalpel and illustrates like a cartoonist.

All of which she is, a writer, illustrator, cartoonist, playwright and novelist. Kleptomania is this collection of ten truly versatile stories set in the contemporary urban populace.

The point that comes out by itself is that no matter how apt, prolific usage of English is there, it is purely Indian. The title story makes up for the first reading and is by far the most unforgettable. A dinner table conversation is looking into one of the most human habits —kleptomania.

The cartoonist’s brilliance in Padmanabhan gets highlighted when describing an old guest, Billimoria. Caterpillar eyebrows, deflated lips and how. Funny to the core! Padmanabhan’s description of sexuality is truthful and in an insightful way, revelatory but not sleazy or even pompous unlike some author who survives men. An exceptional story is Betrayal dealing with abortion which doesn’t prick but picks the human emotions for the readers.

It is a tale of passion, sexuality, the changeability and unpredictability of humans. The confusing The girl who could make people naked is a story of a girl with psychic powers. It moves between a young man’s strong feelings for her sister, although some there is some ambiguity there, and the temptation to conform.

The science fiction works are purely imaginative and written with a clever pen. While reading, it is noticed that the characters have this strength of speculation, imagination and the talent of keeping that in their minds innovatively.

The author has blended (beautifully) drama, satire, cartoon, human habits in a narrative of ten disparate yet connected episodes that keep the reader glued. Don’t mis out on understanding the whimsical cover.

ht epaper

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