The Arithmetic of Breasts and other Stories is a remarkable short story collection, for the bold, different name; partly sensual, partly intimidating. Imagine how breasts and math can be linked? That itself should be enough for you to pick this book. Add to that the rather distinct, confident, no-holds barred voice of Rochelle and you have a wonderful book. In its digital format this book was also shortlisted for The Digital Book of the Year Award 2014 by Publishing Next, Goa.
The stories are each as different as can be but the underlying emotion is what stands out. The language, words and expressions just take you along as you read each story. Excellent command over language and content with the stories speaking of life, our ‘real life’. No extra words, no flimsy thoughts. Each word is made to count and delivers a punch. Exploring the most intimate yet obvious sentiment of us humans. All of us search for this fulfillment yet hesitate to share our desires. Rochelle talks of the good, the bad and ugly, showcasing each aspect with a story that stands out. Some are unusual, some quirky yet all let you in on a little more of the human motivation and desires.
The first story, The Arithmetic of Breasts was a winner just by the feel good factor and the tender, poignant emotions it evoked. I am a fan just after reading it and the subsequent stories only strengthened my opinion.
The Room with a Sea-View and Sky Park left me thoughtful and pondering on the likes it takes to make this word. Lots of insights into the human psyche in these two stories!
Dr. Lovewas just brilliant in the way the author twists us along with the surgery and how the human mind changes. This story has an amazing flow, so smooth as the transformation occurred yet I was partly aghast and partly relived – could not decide which was the callous one? The guy for whom she changed or the one who changed her?
A Place They Call Scary and Our Lovers were so touching and highlight the stark reality of our country, as with all the stories they make you think and wonder. Sad but true, the author does not mince her words and lays it all out for us to see. The double standards, the abuse and neglect.
The Scent of a Conscience had me wondering where the story was going; the author has connected the characters, emotions and feeling superbly. The fate of many lovers……
All the stories in the collection have so much to say and I found that Rochelle has not only managed to share the emotions but the thoughts that propel us to the actions we take as well. A single negative for me was that I found there were too few stories, I wanted to read many more from her. But I guess that is me being a greedy reader! 😉
The stories have a different take on love, life and longing. Sharing nuggets of wisdom about how we feel and think, this assortment of stories is a collector’s item, I will be holding on to the book and adding it to my display shelf of ‘much loved books’.
(©InderpreetKaur. I got a copy of the book from Author, the views are my own.)
Narain who lusts for Munika, hypnotized by her bosom in The Arithmetic of Breasts, and old Jaganlal who wants a favour from young Dia in The Room with a Sea-view.
Jackie who is in love with Nic in Sky Park, and the surgeon in Dr. Love who is changing much more than Sneha’s hairline, nose, lip and chin.
Shonali and Neel who are realizing that infidelity might not be such an easy thing in The Scent of a Conscience, and a woman who walks the tight rope between tradition and sexual exploitation in A place they call Scary.
And, Sunil who meets the woman of his desires in What Men Want through an adult dating site.
Through these stories, Rochelle Potkar explores the intensely personal ‘unrelationship’ that exists alongside its conventional and socially articulate twin, the relationship.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rochelle Potkar’s short stories have appeared in Far Enough East, Sein und Werden, The Medulla Review, The Nassau Review, Women Writers, Writer’s Hub, Bewildering Stories, Cantaraville, Muse India, The Bangalore Review, Revenge Ink, Nivasini, Unisun, Triangulation, Rollick magazine, Annapurna magazine, and Lame Goat Publications.
She won a gold place for her story, ‘The point of Irish coffee’ from Revenge Ink, and an Editor’s choice award for her story, ‘Ramayan redux’ by Triangulation: Parch, USA.
Her poems have appeared in The Brown Boat, The Finger Magazine, Haibun Today,The Bamboo Hut, The Freshwater review. Her poem, ‘Knotted inside me’ was one of the eight shortlisted poems for The Raed Leaf Poetry India Award 2013. She won a second place for her poem ‘Swing’ at the Wordweavers contest 2014.
She has read her poetry at 100Thousand Poets for Change, Godrej India Culture Lab, PEN@Prithvi, Prakriti Festival, and at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. She completed an Advanced Fiction Seminar offered by University of Iowa’s International Writing Program via distance learning, 2013. She narrated two true-life tales at Tall Tales, Kitab Mahal.
Her first book of stories, ‘The Arithmetic of breasts and other stories’ was shortlisted for The Digital Book of the Year Award 2014, by Publishing Next. Her next book, ‘Dreams of Déjà vu’ is a speculative novel.
Born in small town Kalyan, Rochelle craved big city only to realize that Bombay was a small town in a large world. She now waits for the galaxy to become a small town.
She is the co-editor of the quarterly Neesah Magazine with Nivedita of Nivasini Publishers, Hyderabad.
She is part of the pan-India poetry movement: Poetry Couture, that curates open mics, addas, and readings in cafes, libraries, art galleries including the American Library (U.S. Consulate General) and National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.