Shake the Bottle is a collection of short stories in a Bengali background. Renowned Bengali writer’s stories are being translated by Arunava Sinha.
Coming to the stories, are all about human relations. Each story reflects the author’s perspective, which surprisingly is not biased towards women and hence it is comforting to the readers since women’s literature these days are replete with women-are-the-best tales. The author has also depicted the relations between women and put forth to the readers how two perspectives can be so extreme despite the gender. The author has shown how societal approval can influence someone’s behavior through the story ‘Blue Blood’. ‘Chhinnamasta’ is a typical Mother-in-law, Daughter-in-law tussle. While reading the story the readers would start feeling that the author thinks that often the mothers-in-law are the ill-treated ones but the climax of the tale is equally quirky and tragic, which shows the toxic mentality of the society. Further four stories ‘revelation’, ‘game’, ‘weapon’, and ‘love’ have surprise endings, some of which could be predicted. The game is an interesting story with a different approach from the author’s end.
The title short story ‘Shake the bottle’ failed to impress the readers. It could have been one of the many stories rather than one that the collection is named after. The author has a unique talent for exploiting human emotions. Relationships are the key ingredient of the cocktail of emotions in the stories. The translator Arunava Sinha has done an exemplary job by making sure the crux and life of the stories are not lost. The stories are brimful of the beauty of the Bengali culture and the translator has made sure not the loss of that soul.