Surendra Mohanty
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Surendra Mohanty

Here is my honest review, how I feel. Perhaps I am wrong. Two of the stories – 'Being She' and 'Grandmother’s Pyre' – are not short stories in their true sense. They are mere narratives. 'Being She' is just right for a newspaper article on the occasion of Woman’s Day.

'Grandmother’s Pyre' is a hyperbole of unnecessary pathos on the death of an aged lady. You need to tell us how she was different from other old women to justify all the mourning. Grandmother’s qualities, nature and affection for everyone would have made it a complete story. After all, who goes wailing in a funeral procession? But in this story, the relatives are wailing on the street too, as they carry the bier. The story lacks characterisation. Everyone is a nondescript uncle, aunty, brother, grandfather etc. Not a single name. A main character (protagonist) is missing, even if it had been the dead grandmother, she could have been reminisced as a strong character. One and half stars for this story.

‘The Girl With The Tattoo’ has an excellent element of story in it. It moves well, the setting is great, descriptions of a stormy evening creates a good setting and foreshadows an untoward incident. Dialogues are fairly well written, and emotions of the girl, her parents are nicely portrayed. The dialogue with the other taxi driver (while the protagonist is waiting) is too long and unrealistic. Needs to be short 2-way dialogues, not everything in one stretch, by one person. The ending, though predictable, is good, no, very good. Four and half stars to you for this story. Half a star docked for lack of characterisation.

‘Being She’ has the situation for a good story but you have made it like a mundane biography of an unfortunate woman. Like I said, it’s fine for an article on Woman’s Day. I would have written the same story more or less on similar lines but brought in elements of a villainous rival as co-worker who makes fun of and undermines her work, and an understanding and good-natured colleague (a man) to encourage her. Finally, my protagonist would get the coveted promotion and a foreign posting by crushing the villainous co-worker. Now pardon me for I have made your story into mine. Two and half stars for this one.

And you are too verbose, though you’ve admitted it. What is point of using bombastic words? Most readers would rather put down a book than use a dictionary to search for meanings. An occasional pompous usage is fine so long as it fits the situation. That will challenge the reader more. Have you noticed one paragraph: Swathed in her night gown ..... ...................... ...................... ...................... ..................... ................... ............... ................. ........................... .......................... ....................... chagrin of her manager? There many such instances in all the stories. Break long paras down using dialogues.

I hope this helps.

Jun 10 '15
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Life's Status: it's Complicated!!!

Surendra Mohanty

Let me start with the positives. A good plot with good potential for a captivating story. Sequence of events, description of minor incidents at home and at school are portrayed well and appear natural and realistic. The writing is garnished with humour.
Now with the parts that need improvement. The style of writing needs immense attention if you want to be published. Construction of sentences need a lot of attention. You need editorial help to iron out these flaws. The writing lacks maturity. Depth of emotional feelings of the characters is missing.

Jun 05 '15
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Old Monk and Vodka

Surendra Mohanty

A very small sample of the book is available to justifiably rate it. Yet, I find it written quite well. There is a sprinkling of humour, but much of the content will come later. From the synopsis, there are interesting episodes to come.

The language and flow is simple and good, it holds the reader’s interest. The only drawback I find is that campus life described so far is predictable. The first two chapters need to have something unusual to grab one’s attention. I hope something unusual happens in the later chapters. I wonder why chapter three isn’t there.

I saw some where ‘the starchy smell emancipating from...’ Did you mean ‘the starchy smell emanating from...’? There are a few other minor errors that need fixing.

Jun 05 '15
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Nirvana In A Corporate Suit--Magical Memoir Of A Nameless Corporate Guy

Surendra Mohanty

It's a terrific novel. Excellent flow and language, mainly due to good dialogues all through. What struck me most was a new kind of voice in this writing. A serious and philosophical theme garnished with humour all through. Now let me pay a tribute to Runjhun - in this book, I can see similarilties (phlosophical in nature) with Ayn Rand's heavy book 'Atlas Shrugged'. Wow!

Chapter three, is especially wonderfully presented. Skillful, quite full of metaphors from real life, situated in an unreal world. Great symbolic use of the masks. I think you are quite capable of tilting the balance in some alternate universe.

But there is some more polishing to do. When you have written it in the first person, the reader needs to know the person right from the start. At first it seemed to me that 'I' was a woman - "Wake up you sleeping beauty..." Then it turned out to be a man - "Don't you worry my son...". I had to go back and forth to confirm. He is a lawyer comes quite late. I guess his age is late twenties. These need to be told through dialogues. Though written very professionally, some fine tuning in sentence construction is needed. Use of wierd imagination is overdone at places.

I am sure the remaining chapters will go on to open up lessons in real life perhaps for corporate fellows who slog not knowing why. I would want to read the rest of the book. Yes, it should be published.

May 28 '15
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Runjhun Noopur

Thank you Surendra for your kind words! :) They really do mean a lot to me. Also, thank you so much for that detailed and thought out feedback. I will definitely keep it in mind. It is a privilege to have an opportunity to have my work reviewed by thoughtful readers like you. Thanks a ton! :)

May 28 '15
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The Blind Chase

Surendra Mohanty

Firstly, writing in the present tense is not easy. Very few can do it, and you have done it. Well done! It needs a lot of attention to tenses, and invariably there are mistakes and confusions. I noticed similar mistakes in tenses here. For instance: fisrt page - 'Everything is so unexpected' should have been 'Everything was so unexpected'. Though you say it is a thriller, the opening chapters haven't created a feeling of a thriller to hold the attention of the reader. I am not too sure how fast is the chase going to go on from here. A lot more work is needed on the language and style, for now it is very basic with too many unnecessary words, sentences and unnecessary similes. These need to be trimmed, or struck off. My suggestion is, build up pace and action from the first chapter or at the most from the second one, if you want to call it a thriller. Good Luck.

May 22 '15
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Surendra Mohanty

I liked the stories in this order - Mountain magic, Monkey, Mr. Wrong. 'Mountain Magic' is a little story on Romance, 'Monkey' seemed to me a children's story (unless I missed some subtlety) and 'Mr. Wrong' is for a more mature readership. An anthology of diverse genres may not work out well. I am not sure how's the rest of the collection. Each of the stories is written very well, good language and flow. The ending of 'Mountain Magic' is fairly good, but that of 'Mr. Wrong' didn't appeal to me much. The strong point of 'Mr. Wrong' is its dialogues, but the storyline needs to be more positive.

May 09 '15
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Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best

Surendra Mohanty

Humour is so rare these days, everybody churning out serious stuff. And this book is serious humour all the way. Very well written, good style and language. I liked the concept of Hiranya, the conscience keeper, who is an excellent and subtle symbol in Kalyani's life, and who keeps her going. I don't know how the story will go from here, but I felt an undertone of seriousness creeping in. I wonder how Kalyani will still keep herself humoured. The tremendously practical protagonist has no place for God in her quarters; it will be good if she turns towards Him despite all her loathing, in the end.

May 05 '15
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Kalyani

Thank you Surendra! Seriously funny and funnily serious is what I was aiming for and am glad I seem to have achieved that objective. As for how the story unfolds ... well, I love stories that build up slowly and deliciously to a solidly satisfying finale and I have tried my best to write the kind of story I like to read! :)

May 08 '15
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Surendra Mohanty

I read the chapters with interest. The synopsis is exciting, but the first 3 chapters aren't gripping to hold the reader's interest. Overall, the plot is good. There is only one survivor, (perhaps there will be a few more people she'll meet up, as we see it in the synopsis), and how they go about reconstructing their world. A very gripping theme, but the first three chapters haven't done justice to such an interesting idea. No earthquake so far has annihilated an entire city such that there is just one single survivor, no houses, no streets, no media persons, no rescuers, no animals (except UFO), no water is found in several miles. An explanation for such a magnitude of devastation is needed, especially when Mansi felt hardly a tremor in the beginning. Mansi needs to worry and question herself about such a devastation, which appears similar to a nuclear holocaust. Instead she accepts the devastation with equanimity and gets on with her need to survive. This appears to be a technical flaw, the magnitude of the destruction needs to be addressed.
I noticed a few mistakes, they need to be fixed and the script needs to be polished. But as I wrote, the plot is grand and more work is needed.

Apr 20 '15
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao

Thank you surendra! For such an in depth review. I am so sorry that the first three chapters failed to impress you. But such is the format that you only get to read the first three chapters. Because the first three chapters or so deal with the issue of lone survival in a nearly dead city. Later chapters focus on survival as a group in a cave and finding a safe haven. The book is more about how human strength and nature is tested under imagined circumstances... That is after the end ! Hence i deliberately left out the reasoning part on why and how the catastrophe occurred and focused on what a survivor goes through. But if ever I get to publish this book, I will keep your suggestions in mind. Thanks again !

Apr 20 '15
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Surendra Mohanty

Very well written. Good build up of intrigue and mystery so far. Some polishing at places needed before publishing. Congrats for getting selected to be published.

Apr 08 '15
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The gentle man who taught infinity

Surendra Mohanty

A very nicely written book. The author is certainly a math enthusiast, and in all probability a math wizard too. This book is a tribute to his teacher who left an indelible impression on his mind. I wonder how the book will go on from here. I remember my math teacher telling me that parallel lines are those that meet at infinity. Upto chapter 3 no word has been said about infinity, though the title has the word. Either infinity should be brought in a convincing manner in the opening chapters or the title could be suitably altered.
The foreword is too long. It need not be so descriptive. And yes, calling father by name, didn't go with me too well. Other informalities are ok. I thought only Americans had crossed this limit of informality. Thanks for a bloody good read. Surendra

Mar 28 '15
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Surendra Mohanty

Enjoyed reading the first three chapters. The writing is simple, crisp and flows very well. Flawless in grammar and sentence structure. Substantiated with examples and experiences. It is not preachy, but the author leaves it to the reader, what style of parenting they want to adopt. She is neither critical about about Indian nor western parenting styles, but certainly she is pro Indian culture, which is the purpose of the book. I am happy to find that Indian parents remain Indian parents even after living for long in the West.

Mar 26 '15
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Vinati Sukhdev

Thank you for your kind words Surendra. Once an Indian, always an Indian! Is desh ki mitti mein kuch hai - as they say in our films :)

Mar 26 '15
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