When my friend first posted about this book on Facebook, I simply “liked” the post. Every Tim, Dick and Harry was publishing a book these days. All you needed was a contact in the right place. Barely five minutes later, I was back on her post. The Seshan family as I knew them were extremely well-read and had an enviable library at home. My friend and her sister Varsha, both prolific readers, both holding a Masters in English Literature were not about to write any of the frivolous stuff some other women I knew had recently published. The book wouldn’t have a bright cover page and this wouldn’t be ” chick lit.”
And so without wasting another moment or even bothering to read what the book is about, I opened a new tab and promptly placed a order on Flipkart (my second order ever, and interestingly so, the second within a week! Fortunately I prefer visiting bookshops but more about that in a different post). The book arrived a few days later and I opened the package excitedly.
My first thought when I saw the cover was “Brilliant, not chick lit, but fantasy! Oh well, I will read it for N and Varsha.” This morning, I picked up the book today for my in-flight reading and didn’t put it down for the next 95 minutes. In-flight meals were served, coffee and a muffin was consumed and the book was even decorated with a few crumbs (sorry, Varsha) but I couldn’t bring myself to put the book down.
The Story Catcher is a delightful collection of short stories written for children. The book took me back to my Enid Blyton days and left me with the same happy feeling that used to envelop me when I read books like The Wishing Chair and The Faraway Tree. I smiled, chuckled and even pushed away a lump in my throat as I turned the pages, consuming story after story. The Dictionary left me with a warm feeling and an urgent desire to jot down a note in my first French dictionary (handed down to me from my brother who got it from my cousins) even if it is 18 years too late! The Circus Boy left me with moist eyes and a lump in my throat and the last one, The Story Catcher, of course, made me wish I was once again 10 and could naively believe in the existence of the story catcher.
The book is without a doubt brilliant ( and I say this without any bias) and I wish Varsha had found a bigger publisher. Unfortunately the bigger publishers are too busy publishing books about shopaholics and young women searching for their Mr. Right. Varsha’s book deserves a position in the pile of recommended books in every Crossword and Landmark of the country (and possible a better cover image too!).
If the child in you is still alive, I recommend you order the book immediately. If not, order a copy for the children you know!