Author : Multiple
Publisher : APK Publishers
Rating : 3/5
Divided into three sections - Light Grey, Dark Grey and Black, 'Shades of Sin' consists of 25 short stories weaved around the vices like greed, lust, ego, pride, anger and jealousy. The stories encompass a gamut of writing styles and settings, contributed by 6 authors from diverse backgrounds. Even though the stories straddle a wide spectrum, there is a unifying feeling about the central theme.
'Burn' by Aanandita Chawla (AC) and 'A Woman's touch' by Vivek Banerjee (VB) brings a surprise by their spooky endings though you may see the end of the latter one coming from a mile. 'Shouting Out Loud' by Upneet Grover (UG) and 'The Blue Shoes' by Saksham Agrawal (SA) are slice of life stories which we all can relate to. 'The Butterfly effect' by UG does have an interesting narrative but the climax is a tad disappointing. 'An Illicit thought' by Sreelatha Chakravarty is arguably the best story in the anthology with emotions fluctuating from lust to jealousy and finally, culminating in an ending which very few of us can claim to guess second hand.
'For the Love of God' by UG make interesting comments about the life of a Colonel but is too short to have a strong impact. 'The Bet' by VB is standard ghost story with a predictable climax but does portray some decent atmospherics to set up the narrative. 'The Yellow Top' by VB does bring out the dark side of company politics and an unhealthy competition between colleagues even though laced with filmy tones. 'The Leap of faith' by UG takes leaf from the Mohammed Amir/ Asif no-ball spot fixing incident and builds own version of the same which keeps you guessing till the end. 'Dhaba' by SA effectively brings illuminates the vagaries of society by illuminating the irony of haves and have-nots struggling to make a living. 'Tamale's Temptation' by VB is a moralistic tale of a loyal government servant only to fall for the temptations in life and makes a point about all of us who have decided to take the easy way over the hard choices sometimes we have to make. 'Standing Tall' by UG, again a slice of life portrays the emotions of a person through everyday actions on road. 'Three lives' by AC narrates complex relationships between three people and even though it is well narrated, it has have been there, read that feeling to it. 'Ping by VB brings the facet of online chats and how it diffuses complexity in the larger scheme of relationships.
'The city never sleeps' by VB is edgy thriller story about a prostitute in Kolkata who has a secret behind her inner mode. 'Versions of Reality' by Vrinda Baliga portrays the thin line between reality and illusion and how relationships mirror that. 'A reason to Smile' by SA portrays the dark side of human nature behind that innocent smile. 'Virtual Love' by VB borders around the thin line between sexual perversion and an unhealthy obsession towards porn. 'The Slight of While by UG deals with an interesting premise with narrative alternating between reality and dreams.
The limitation of the anthology is that it makes excessive use of Peripeteia and Anagnorisis to tell the stories so that by the time you have read a few initial ones, you almost start putting a feeling of disbelief to the characters. Because you know their actions and feelings will not exactly be the same by the climax as expected as the authors are quite keen on having that surprise ending to tell their tales. This in turn, brings a predictability factor which may be avoided if you read the book in different sittings.
You will experience a variety of feelings while reading this book. A few will leave you disgusted and tempted, others will keep you engaged and hooked. But most of the unpredictable ones will leave you satisfied as a reader. There are very few writers these days who want to try something different and make a genuine difference by their writing. This is one such initiative. Go for it!