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The first story, "The arithmetic of breasts", traces the strong physical attraction that blossoms between a math scientist and his sister's mentor to their ultimate marriage culminating in a final blow that changes the lives of both significantly but not in any way diminishing the attraction that has matured with time. Lot of meticulous attention has been paid to mundane details in the story that tie up really well together. The next story deals with the extremes of age meeting together and the understanding between them that is ageless. In the next story three souls tell their tale through their intertwining lives and emotions. Finally they join together in an accident that closely resembles toying with death. In "Dr. Love" is a thought provoking tale about the relationship of a person to their faces and about how it affects their personality and soul. As the author states " will a different face really make a different person". " The scent of a conscience" talks about the forbidden fruit of extra marital affairs with a surprise ending about the pointlessness of it all. Girls dedicated to a life of servitude in a temple find their servitude used for other things as well in the story “ A place called scary”. The next two stories are fleeting snippets touching on the lovers a woman collects and the game a man plays through the grievance column of a local newspaper. The last story “ What men want” goes into the male mind and probes into their expectations in a woman. An NRI returnee liked his women to be liberal as he was perhaps used to in his stay abroad. But ends up with what he thinks is a ‘placid relationship’. However our eyes are opened when other group of his friends experienced different depths of emotion in the same lady.
Rochelle’s stories are stark and real. Like a fresh breeze that makes one stand up and take notice. Her liberal writing style stands out with the theme of an ‘arithmetic’ undercurrent.
The book was an interesting comparisons of similes and metaphors dealing with human emotions. All stories are interwoven in a common tapestry that stand out with reality and honesty. A marvelous collection of short stories. With a catchy title that sets the theme of all the stories.
The first story stands out infusing new meaning to abstract themes like mathematics. Aspects like topology, texture, range and size are compared to the female breast ! The descriptions tantalize and sizzle with meaning. This story sets the pace for the rest and keeps one in the same wonderland of the fullness of life.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
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