‘Unexpected Valentines’ is very much on the expected lines. Tender and sensual, the stories in this book show how internal conflicts in relationships get sorted out by mature considerations and understanding. The day to day pathos, and the diminishing returns of a marriage, is presented very realistically, and so is the deftness with which they have been handled by the concerned players. How small things and gestures avert impending disasters is narrated so ardently by the author, invariably culminating into happy endings–a must, I’m given to believe, for a romance story. I doubt, however, if any of the stories in review would’ve altered its nomenclature if it had ended not so happily.
The rich prose, and superb choice of words (aka MJ Akbar) clearly suggests the versatility of the
gifted author, though one hardly needs to consult a dictionary, unlike you do in case of the last
mentioned. (Thank god he doesn’t dabble in fiction).
Having said that, the conflicts presented are too mundane, in my humble opinion, to build any spectacular stories from them. And yet, the author has succeeded in setting my mind thinking of how small things matter more than the big ones in a relationship. I would miss making the morning cup of tea for my wife of fifty years, (‘been doing it for over thirty), but not her birthday! Or else I’ll have to go in search of that store to buy that exotic dress for her!
Simple and sweet stories like your Granny used to tell.
Pick up this book on a rainy day.