A to Z Stories of Life and Death

Rated 4.82/5 based on 11 reviews
How do you judge a teacher toying with the sexuality of her teenaged student? A boy who decides to murder his mother? What thoughts rage inside a pedophile serial killer before he shoots himself? These are some of the premises of 26 stories of life and death, based on the 26 letters of the alphabet. They question the concepts of beauty, truth, and morality, by revealing the face of the other side. More
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About D Biswas

Damyanti’s short fiction has been commended at the Bath Flash Fiction award. Her debut novel in progress, Delhi Winter is longlisted for the 2015 Mslexia Novel Competition and Flash500 Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competition.

She’s published at Bluestem magazine, Griffith Review Australia, Lunch Ticket magazine, The First Line, Ducts.org by New York Writer’s Workshop, other journals in the USA, Singapore. Her work is anthologised by Twelve Winters Press, USA (Pushcart Nomination), and by major publishers in Malaysia and Singapore.

When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book, or baking up a storm. Tweet her up @damyantig for a chat!

Learn more about D Biswas

Reviews of A to Z Stories of Life and Death by D Biswas

P.A. Ruddock reviewed on Dec. 7, 2013

As delightful and thought provoking an anthology as I've read in a long time. The stories themselves fall largely into the flash fiction genre and occasionally the vignette, though to pigeon-hole them this way hardly does them justice. The settings span the globe but are set mostly in the Asian sub-continent and the far east. The topics and social issues they deal with are both difficult and provocative: domestic abuse, poverty, sexuality, and exploitation to name but a few.

As a European reader, I was captivated by the author's accounts of life in other cultures, many of which are saddening and hard to comprehend; our (European) notions of poverty and depravation are quickly turned on their heads by the honest and sensitive way in which they form the backdrop to the stories. Elements of the storyline in each case often deliberately remain unwritten, i.e. implied or hinted at, forcing the reader to use their imagination and interpret each story in their own way and really think about what they are reading. Some of the stories conclude with a glimmer of hope for the future set against the harrowing circumstances of what's gone before; others do not, which for me really gives them added authenticity - life isn't all about happy endings.

If all the reader is looking for is light entertainment then this book probably isn't it, but for stories that really engage the reader, gets them thinking, challenging their own perspectives and thinking, then these twenty six literary jewels would be hard to surpass.
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)
Marian Allen reviewed on Jan. 28, 2012

This book is amazing! I read many of them as they were written -- ONE A DAY -- during the 2011 April A-to-Z challenge. I understand some of those were left out, others were added and all were edited. The result is a collection of little jewels. Some are happy, some are sad, some are disturbing, but all are moving and exceptional. Beautiful language! Beautiful book!
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
Ashish Kumar reviewed on Jan. 10, 2012

Each one of these stories is a gem.

Before I started reading them, I thought that the title was a bit trite, and I suspected that the writer would have force-fitted some story headings to get a cute-sounding title. I couldn't have been more wrong - the titles do not appear contrived at all, and the stories fit together very well. It's incredible, and inspiring for writers, that this work was done over 26 days.

It's hard to single out any one outstanding piece. Each of them is very taut. Ghosh is a wordsmith who uses her words sparingly.

The pieces are very real, gritty and diverse. Ghosh is able to write from a staggering range of points of view.

I will force myself to point out a few minor flaws: "subway" is not a term generally used in Singapore, some of the stories have the text starting after a page break, and in all of the book I didn't like one phrase, "eating snails as per their moods..."

I found this a wonderful introduction to flash fiction.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Guilie Castillo-Oriard reviewed on Nov. 13, 2011

D. Biswas is a master of the short fiction genre. She draws the reader into the story with a talent for descriptive narration that borders on the genius--why? Because she rarely describes per se. She builds the scene, the characters and the setting with sparse words, and yet the world she draws us into is real and palpable. Her characters jump off the page, bursting with life--with dreams, with desires, with shortcomings, with moral dilemmas.

A to Z Stories is the first short story collection I've read in a long time that I simply could not put down. Cannot wait for more of her work.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
Paul reviewed on Nov. 8, 2011

In imitation of the spirit in which this ebook was written, I intended to allow myself one story per day, but it wasn't long before I exceeded my ration. It's overall a dark book, yet sprinkled by many points of light, and who doesn't like a night sky? The uniqueness of each tale makes you curious about the next, pulling you on. I enjoyed this author's ability to insert "keepers" into her stories, little observations which lodge themselves in your mind because of their truth. One of my favorites is, "Love enters later in life through the cracks left by the first heartbreak." I would recommend this book without reservation.
(reviewed 65 days after purchase)
Rachel Morgan reviewed on Nov. 8, 2011

Bite-size literary snacks. The tasty kind. The kind you keep going back for more of when no one else at the party is looking. (And of all the snacks I’ve tasted at this party, I love N the most!)
(reviewed 83 days after purchase)
elisa bressan reviewed on Nov. 7, 2011

It captured me from the first story and I liked because this collection satisfy people who like to explore all the feelings.
Heaven and hell, love and loss are combined here in these intense, vibrant stories.
(reviewed 74 days after purchase)
Toby Neal reviewed on Oct. 4, 2011

Tightly written collection of diverse gems. Each story left me thinking about it long after it slid down easy and unique, not a word wasted, glimpses of perspectives beyond imagination that cut to the heart of the human experience and leave the reader wondering and enriched.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
Toby Neal reviewed on Oct. 4, 2011
(no rating)
Tightly written, not a word out of place, this collection of diverse, moving, disturbing and thought provoking short stories cut to the heart of the human experience. I was left thinking about them long after, like some small and perfect delicacy, they were devoured.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
Anna Tan reviewed on Sep. 5, 2011

Birthed out of a month-long blogfest, D. Biswas’ A to Z Stories of Life and Death presents 26 short stories organised according to the letters in the alphabet. Beginning with the innocence and wonder of a child finding snails in her Aquarium and ending with a fiery funeral pyre in Zone, the stories run the gamut from love, murder, sex, abuse, addiction, myth, sickness and mourning - all revolving around the issues of life and death.

Majority of the stories are very poignant vignettes focusing on slices of life, with several longer flash fiction in between. Reading them makes you feel as if you are collecting memories from various sources and trying them on for size. Each story has its own personal twist - the endings are never quite what you expect - and most would leave you with a tear in your eye.

What I like about Biswas’ writing is the descriptive way she writes, which helps put you right in the middle of the scene. She is very good at invoking emotions and making you feel the story without a sense of detachment.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
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