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Srivastav Vanagla collects stories that are related yet distinct from each other and explores human nature.

ByPuspendra Thakur

Jul 17, 2021

Human beings evolve continuously, and this dynamic process runs throughout their life. In the midst of this, they explore different shades of their lives and personalities and they rise from every challenge they face. As a reader, the title “The Lunar Heart” by Srivastav Vangala would seem quite intriguing to many. The book is an anthology consisting of 18 different amazing stories which are entirely fictional. Vanagla collects stories that are related yet distinct from each other and explores human nature through different perspectives through the eyes of the authors.

The cover of the book is a soothing sight that indicates the peace which comes with the presence of the moon. It has a relaxing effect on the readers’ minds and welcomes them into the world of the lunar. “The Lunar Heart” is nothing but a metaphor used to convey human life. Humans are trapped in their emotions, feelings, constraints, and boundaries. Through the lessons life gives them, they learn their worth and bounce back with a stronger version of themselves. It may for once suggest a feeling similar to rising from the ashes, but on closer examination, there is a lot more that the stories are about. The author suggests that human life is not distinct from the Moon, which gets covered by night and revives to a full moon. The cover design and blurb also contribute a lot in signifying the same. Although the readers get a fair idea of what is to follow, yet they are prompted to start the book and read how the author relates the moon with human life. The concept may be intriguing for once, but it still strikes as interesting.

Once the readers begin with the book, they get distinct vibes from the stories, which evoke mixed feelings of attachment, hatred, betrayal, and progression. The usage of such a technique doesn’t make the stories seem like a work of fiction. Instead, it compels them to think that the scenarios can be possible in a practical context too. On reading the first story, i.e. “Roses cannot complain about the weather,” the readers would have mixed emotions of finding the story to be both disturbing and inspiring at the same time. Allegorically, it suggests how looks should not be the only thing that can define the personality of a person. It is interesting to see how the narrator’s English teacher had played a significant role in giving a new direction to his life.

Similar is the case with the story, “Cats.” There is a very peculiar thing about the author, i.e. Despite having the title “The Lunar Heart”, he was able to connect human behaviour with every object. The thing he painted on the canvas holds a very dark interpretation. The way he evaluated his ex-girlfriend’s behaviour with the cats will make the readers perceive the world and examine it through a completely different dimension. Other stories like “Death Seems to be a Chain Smoker,” “Glow in the dark,” “Candles in the Concrete Jungle” and others seem to be born from the thought of exploring humans and the darker sides of life and giving it unimaginable dimensions. It is interesting to observe how the author draws aspects of the life of a human being and draws comparisons with the different phases of the moon. How a person’s heart goes through different swings of mood is beautifully compared with the phases of the moon at the same time. The metaphorical associations cannot be ignored either.

All eighteen stories carry a depth that can be visualized by critical thinking. They are distinct, unique and explore a universe from different viewpoints. Altogether, the anthology would introduce the readers to new worlds and new streams of thought. The language used by the author is easy to understand for any reader, and he features interesting and innovative plots. The stories are very diverse, and at the same time, they are also relatable for the readers. While building up his characters, the author seems to have done extensive research in their development as they appear unique and different from each other altogether.

The readers who have an interest in reading short stories or anthologies can try reading “The Lunar Heart.” Even though Vangala features stories that are unique and different from each other, there would be one or the other story with which the readers can relate. They can take a leap into the world of the lunar and explore the different facets of life in a simplistic and multi-dimensional manner.

Reviewed by Akhila Saroha

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