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April 16, 2013

Old Notes on 'Electric Feather - The Tranquebar book of Erotic Stories'

Editor : Ruchir Joshi
Publisher : Tranquebar Press

Rating : 3.5 / 5

The editor of the anthology gives the readers the background of the book in the preface, which has the curious title “Repairing Brindaban”. When he asked his select group of authors to send unpublished, original writing 'about and around the erotic and the sexual', predictably not all jumped at his proposal. Some stayed mum, some showed disdain and some thought it was beneath them to write ‘porn’. But some young, promising and upcoming authors responded with their fare which found their way into the Contents.

Samit Basu’s The Wedding Night is nothing but unadulterated sex amidst games on the night of a wedding. Sheba Karim's gentle story of a girl down on vacation, and infatuated by her aunt was subtly nuanced and written with the kind of restraint that makes writing effective. Niven Govindan's story about a pair of gay lovers in Amsterdam, who are bound to each by a painful bond of hurting and pleasure makes for fascinating reading.

Tishani Doshi and Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, both surprise us with non-confessional stories about inexperience. In Madhavan’s story, a 27-year old man loses his virginity, courtesy of a colleague. In Doshi’s, a matronly woman in her first relationship pleasures herself on a train, text messaging her married lover through the night. 

On the other hand, couple of stories completely baffled me and made me question their presence in the anthology. The one by Abeer Hoque is straight out of some research paper on sexology and is utterly distracting by the insertion of those irritating footnotes. Same with Rana Dasgupta's 'Swimming Pool' which may appear to be a bold editorial choice but failed to made an impression despite an edgy premise.

There is a nice mix of what i call as highbrow erotica for the literary snobs and titillating, drooling stuff for the young teenagers and arguably, that is the best marketing way to sell more books. There is something for everyone here. Read when your sex hormones are in over drive, guilty pleasure at its best.

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