What attracted me to this ebook was the cover and the blurb that has the line: This collection of short stories and flash fiction is a small attempt to remind us that life is messy and adventurous and full of surprises. So I decided to go on this short, salty and sweet adventure.
The first story is called Romantic Adventures and throughout that story, I was laughing out loud. And that reaction was all the carrot I needed to continue with the ebook. There are soft stories and loud stories, stories that will make you think and ones that you will relate to so hard – I mean there is no better reaction than grovelling when you make a mistake and your big sister Shamima is breathing down your neck.
Or this gem of a statement from The Best Mistake of my Life:
People are always worrying about mistakes. They go through life thinking I have to be careful, if I make a mistake then how will I fix it?
This quote made me pause and reevaluate my relationship with the mistakes I make. I usually beat myself over them but the message in the story was quite helpful in shifting my perception. Although I still cannot figure if this story was diabolical in terms of where the narrator ended up or just a sweet story of destiny and mistakes being opportunities that lead you there.
Even the flash fiction stories pack a punch, especially the one tilted Devi. It just guts you and all you can do is take a pause before going forward. Asfiya has done a great job of mixing thought-provoking stories with lighthearted ones.
And sometimes, thought-provoking and lightheartedness come in one package. Like seven year old Saifi from the story Is it Kinder to Give or to Receive says this:
Sometimes it was difficult being seven years old. People just didn’t seem to understand anything. Everyone thought he was too small to do anything. Well everyone except his class teacher who was always going on and on about how they were big students now that they were in class 3.
He goes on to tell his mother, can’t I sigh in peace. And I swear I wanted to hug Saifi and say: same dude, same.
Another favourite of mine was Death Lurks in Every Corner. It was going in one direction and ended up in a completely different one. All I want to say is: bravo Asfiya, bravo!
There is a childlike quality to the stories, like Asfiya is in touch with the child in each of her characters and she shows them to you through that child’s eye.
The ebook is available for free download here.