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April 1, 2013

Quick Notes on 'Alchemy - The Tranquebar Book of Erotic Stories 2'





Editor : Sheeba Karim
Publisher : Tranquebar Press

Rating : 3/5

The editor builds on a basic premise. So many elements of ourselves come together in the act of sex: skin and bodily fluids, desire, fear, greed, joy, stigma, pride, affection, guilt, often in the hopes of creating something more beautiful, our personal elixirs of life, however temporary, however permanent. In Alchemy, Tranquebar's second anthology of erotic short stories, editor Sheba Karim has brought together thirteen diverse works about the pains and pleasures of sex. The stories traverse through various continents, cultures, cities, genres, sexual orientation and milieu, taking the reader on an intimate journey through the complexities of sex, lust, and desire as the characters search for a cure for the alchemy of love.

Stories here does provide novelty and innovative ideas (including a futuristic tale of a four gendered orgy). Sexual passion, in its subtle forms, though play a central role while narrating these stories. Like many short story collections dealing with erotica, there are low and high points. This one is no different though i must quickly add that the high points are really strong and does invoke an emotion of passion.

The book starts with an unapologetic account of a postmodern man's attraction to his maid and ends with a libido-fill husband (whose wife had a recent miscarriage) encounter with a call girl who desperately wants to see Taj Mahal next year. There is a poignant tale of a boy's sexual awakening in a cinema bathroom and a lyrical meditation of a mysterious woman's carnal lessons to an imprisoned monk. My personal favourite, however remain the story about a male who is trapped in the body of a female and finds sexual solace in an abusive relationship with a college drop-out and budding politician. It has raw energy and touches an indescribable emotion about such people. 

I particularly found couple of stories dealing with foreigners or Indian people in foreign location overly complex and turgid. They do not particularly hold my interest but it seems a little rude to the writers/publisher who have gone out of their way to bring out an erotica yet again to warm up your senses. Do give it a chance but with a caveat of not liking every story you read here.

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