Edited by: Sheba Karim
Published by: Tranquebar Press, Westland
Genre: Erotica, Fiction, Anthology
No. of pages: 232
Price: 295 INR
Synopsis: 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 pleasures and pains of sex, including an unapologetic account of a postmodern man’s attraction to his maid, a futuristic tale of a four gendered orgy, a poignant narrative of a boy’s sexual awakening in a cinema bathroom, and a lyrical meditation on a mysterious woman’s carnal lessons to an imprisoned monk. The anthology’s stories are vivid and well crafted, moving across genres, orientations, continents and genders, taking the reader on an intimate journey through the complex alchemies of sex, desire and love.
Review: Well, I had never thought that I would ever read a book on erotica and when I got the opportunity I experienced sheer joy of reading something new and fresh. It gave me goosebumps as I started to read the book. To tell frankly, am amazed and happy at the same time that there are many authors writing erotic and expressing the alchemies of sex, desire and love freely.
Since this is the anthology of thirteen short stories it wouldn’t be apt to review all the stories as one and hence a review for each story. The only question that I had before writing the review was how to review this book, on what basis: language, story, What??!! But then I decided to review it on the basis of the ‘Erotica Quotient’. So here it goes:
1 – The Farmer’s Daughter by Rabi Thapa
This story is the firsthand account of his desires for his maid, how he slowly and steadily befriends her and before he could tell her his feelings for her, he loses her. The story is nicely weaved bringing out the most desired emotion with ease. I give it 4/5 based on the Erotica Quotient.
2 – Clay by Gudiya
This is the story which seems to be concentrating mainly on deception and the sex encounters of the central characters but lacks on the Erotica Quotient. I give it 2/5 on the Erotica Quotient.
3 – Sanskrit by Ranbir Sindhu
It is a story of an Indian couple on their anniversary night getting ready to be with each other but every time they get cosy they are interrupted with phone calls. The storyline lacks the much needed substance which is essential for writing erotic stories and hence I give it 2/5 based on the Erotica Quotient.
4 – Abandon by Shrimoyee Nandini
This is one of the stories which I liked the most. It is about the central characters having sex on various abandoned buildings and soon it becomes a habit. A great storyline bringing out the desired emotions with ease. I give it 4/5 based on the Erotica Quotient.
5 – Mouth by M.Svairini
For me, this story takes the cake. This story is about submissives involved in an orgy with their masters. It brings out most of the emotions such as joy, greed, fear, affection, pride, and most importantly it is by far the most erotic of the stories. I give it 5/5 based on the Erotica Quotient’.
6 – A Foreigner by Amitava Kumar
This story is about an immigrant and his fantasies. It is good in parts but it could have been much better. I would go with 3/5 based on Erotica Quotient.
7 – Semen, Saliva, Sweat, Blood by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
This story completely shook me when I came to know it is about gay relationships. The storyline is superb bringing along the most desired emotion. I would give it 4/5 based on the Erotica Quotient.
8 – F is for Fire by Abeer Hoque
This story is also of an immigrant and his sexual fantasies. Somehow I feel this story lacks on the main front. I give 2/5 on the Erotica Quotient.
9 – The periscope by Lopa Ghosh
This story is all about sexual fantasies and somehow a bit vague. I give 2/5 based on the Erotica Quotient.
10 – The Matinee by Mohan Sikka
This story talks about how a boy finds out about his sexual desires. A well crafted storyline, nicely written but could have been a much nicer read had it been more on the Erotica Quotient. I go with 3/5 based on the Erotica Quotient.
11 – The Marrying Kind by Mary Anne Mohanraj
This story is about a couple Jared and Leilani where Leilani feels it difficult to match up to his passion. But Jared knowingly breaks his own barriers and what happens is left to be found out. I give it 3.5/5 based on the Erotica Quotient.
12 – The Monk by Ananda Devi
This story is about a boy who believes that he is a monk and what happens when he reaches puberty. I would give 3/5 based on Erotica Quotient.
13 – Next year at the Taj by Sheba Karim
This is a story about a couple where the man wants to save his marriage, be close to her, make it work but she has already moved on distancing herself from him. He then ends up sleeping with a hooker but guilt stricken he resolves to save his marriage and get back to her wife. I give it 3/5 based on the Erotica Quotient.
Overall: All the stories are good. A must read for the first timers for some knowledge, entertainment and for sheer fun and pleasure. For those already into reading Erotica, I feel you can definitely read the book but without any preconceived notions.
Rating: 3.5/5 overall.