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difficult-pleasures

A solitary economist drives from France to Sweden to try and redeem a tragedy; a boy fervently hopes his father will not miss his appearance in a school play; a painter on the way to Europe is about to board the wrong flight; a village boy leaves school for the bright lights of Bangalore; a man tries to stop time.Wry, tender, borderline surreal, Difficult Pleasures is a coA solitary economist drives from France to Sweden to try and redeem a tragedy; a boy fervently hopes his father will not miss his appearance in a school play; a painter on the way to Europe is about to board the wrong flight; a village boy leaves school for the bright lights of Bangalore; a man tries to stop time.Wry, tender, borderline surreal, Difficult Pleasures is a collection of stories about the need to escape and the longing to belong. Accomplished, ambitious and full of surprises, this is a masterful collection - and it confirms Anjum Hasan’s reputation as one of India’s most gifted young writers...

Title : Difficult Pleasures
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780670086269
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 247 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Difficult Pleasures Reviews

  • Shonazee Somani
    2018-10-15 06:58

    This was an unplanned purchase, bought it cause a line in the blurb caught my fancy, "...a collection of stories about the need to escape and the longing to belong."I really hope the stories turns out as good as the blurb suggests. Book 8 for the #brunchbookchallenge hosted by @htbrunch & my first Indian author read for the year!Review:I finished this book a couple of days back. Like I've mentioned before, Difficult Pleasures by Anjum Hasan is a collection of short stories, under the themes of escapism/longing to belong. I absolutely loved some of the stories in here, each story describes the life of a person going through some crisis. And how acceptance eventually finds it's place. Some inspire and others leave you with a shudder. What I love and hate about these stories are the abrupt ends. It doesn't tell you the whole story of the person, just about a part, a phase in his/her life, leaving everything else to imagination. What I undoubtedly, absolutely loved is how I could instantly relate with most of the circumstances & emotions the protagonists were facing. There's something for each one of us. Stories spanning age. There are POVs ranging from that of a kid to an adult. From going through bad break ups to loosing someone dear to you. The stories left me mulling, forcing me to retrospect my life, find meaning and peace. Anjum Hasan is a delight to read. Such simple but engaging prose. I'm definitely going to read more by this author. My fav short stories from this book are, Good Housekeeping, Hanging On Like Death, Fairytale on 12th Main. Also, this book sports my FAV cover. Love the colour schemes <3#anofinkandpagesreview

  • Meetu
    2018-09-19 09:02

    Uff, this woman can write. The bordered, army-ed entity called India is given fascinating dimensions through the thirteen stories she has penned here. Where the culture changes every 100 kms or less, she finds humans that pull and tug at our cords and render us all too emotionally human. The two stories that had children as protagonists was a bit too infuriating for me and as usual I was ranting mentally against "adults". But from the first page I was glued to her tales. Extremely relatable people and circumstances. Such a poetic perspective she brings to them!

  • Vasav Dave
    2018-09-23 09:52

    'Difficult Pleasures' is a collection of, seemingly simple and ordinary but very beautifully woven, short stories by Anjum Hasan.She has picked up very gentle and delicate subjects, like a boy waits for his father to attend his school play which easily touches the heart, husband longing for the child, girl explaining the pleasure of touch, son clinging onto memories of her mother.Anjum Hasan has her own way of revealing characters and their inner selves in stories. Her characters seem to be struggling for some inexplicable pleasure, warmth and love which after making peace with themselves they find it at arm’s reach. They feel content after having it only once and never again.It becomes too quick sometimes to express emotions in a short story. Story sprigs forward before the plot gets hold of you. Distracted you might feel while building the plot with past, but when she concludes the story, all of it makes sense. She swept back all the emotions enclosed in the box, with just one line in that moment. She succeeded in giving words to those feelings, emotions we often fail to understand, define and distinguish.None of her stories will make sense until you connect them with the title of the book -'Difficult Pleasures'. The title binds them all together in one knot. My favorites, out of all thirteen stories, were ‘Wild Things’ and ‘Immanuel Kant in Shillong’.This book is strongly recommended if you have loved short stories of Jhumpa Lahiri.

  • Vaidya
    2018-09-30 11:01

    Collection of shorts. Like with most collections of shorts, especially when there's only one, this one has its ups and downs. Some of the stories are really good, and some seem to act as fillers.But no matter what, Hasan's prose stays true till the end. In many ways her writing reminds me of Jhumpa Lahiri's fiction, but while Lahiri's more at home with her shorts, Hasan's comfort is with novels. But even then, Lunatic In My Head is yet to be bettered. The same can be said of The Namesake?

  • Sayantan Ghosh
    2018-10-05 13:50

    Like an old song whose words you can't remember when you most want to yet can't stop from humming the tune, this one leaves you incomplete. Beautiful, short-lived, unfulfilled expressions of love, life, settlement and death.

  • Smita Sahay
    2018-10-13 10:59

    Read my review: http://www.asiancha.com/content/view/...Excerpt: Most of the stories occur in the minds of the characters, drawing the reader into the mental landscape of the narratives. No one seems to be telling these stories; they are dream-like. Hasan's brilliance shines through in her choice of situation and emotional space. These are situations people usually don't think and talk about, let alone spin stories out of, yet she manages to make them feel somehow familiar.There's poetry in Hasan's composition, and her sentences and word choice stir something familiar yet unnamed. In "Good Housekeeping," for example, the prose conjures a difficult-to-forget scene, full of unusual light: "It was an evening hour but the light belonged to afternoon. The back lawn was lit by generous golden slabs of the rare English sun." In "The Big Picture," we are told in vivid language how personal space creates a self: "It is possible to feel completely at home in the world but this is only because we have laid claim to a small space – a few rooms, certain streets, a familiar town – over which our habitual wanderings create grooves that we can comfortably slip into."

  • Parikhit
    2018-09-27 12:08

    I am disappointed; after an out-of-the-world-experience with 'Lunatic In My Head' by the same author my expectations were sky-high and they came tumbling down with 'Difficult Pleasures' as I flipped the last page and slammed this book shut. When reading 'Lunatic In My Head' I found my thoughts and ideas reflected in her writing; probably, an assumption I safely made, the author and I trace our roots to the same city and are presently settled in the same city and I could actually sense, see and fade into her descriptions. With a frenzied anticipation I ordered 'Difficult Pleasure' and 'Neti, Neti'. A collection of thirteen short stories and I found it difficult to seek any pleasure by reading 'Difficult Pleasures'. There were stories when I found myself questioning 'What was the author thinking?' and at certain times I pondered if the stories were intended to be profound and the reader was expected to unravel the cryptic message scattered through disconnectedly connected descriptions. Then again, another possibility would be a scarcity of the intelligence demanded of a reader. Whatsoever be the reason, disappointment came easily. I found them incomplete! A few good stories saved my pride for Anjum Hasan and how I wish the collection had only these ones. 'Banerjee and Banerjee' definitely deserved a five star, a second close would be 'Birds', then 'Hanging On Like Death', 'For Love or Water' and possibly 'Immanuel Kant In Shillong'. I will recommend this book to a select few with a note to absolutely prevent the stories 'Eye In The Sky', 'The Big Picture' and 'Good Housekeeping'.

  • Manu
    2018-10-02 10:02

    Anjum Hasan is definitely among my top 3 favourite authors, and this book only adds to it. But that also means that this is not a thoroughly objective review. :)The book has thirteen short stories that have a varied set of characters in different circumstances. As the jacket informs us, some of the stories are borderline surreal, but that doesn't take away from the empathy that the author (has and) seems to be able to evoke in the reader. This is especially commendable because the characters vary in age, socio-economic class, mindset, location and many other factors. Yet, the single common takeaway from each of these (sometimes not-so-ordinary) slice of life situations is how the author is able to drag the reader in and empathise with the character/s even if not identify. I loved the two child's-perspective stories - 'Birds' and 'Hanging On Like Death' both of them are quite the tearjerkers, with some sublime narration. At least a couple of stories are built on the premise of sudden uncharacteristic decisions, and a different couple of them have sudden twists as well. 'For love or water' was a favourite and reminded me of a character from the author's earlier books. So was 'Immanuel Kant in Shillong' and this time (since I have visited the place recently) I was able to visualise some of the settings. To me, very few authors can capture the 'need to escape and the longing to belong' as well as Anjum Hasan. In essence, a wonderful read especially if you like Anjum Hasan's style of writing that reveals layers each time you read.

  • Patrick Bryson
    2018-09-22 10:03

    An excellent collection. Stories that for the most part explore the dangerous territory in relationships, just before the roof collapses under the weight of the monsoon rain. There is an unnamed tension running through the book, leaving the impression that things are never quite right, and that the characters are all on the verge of doing something desperate - perhaps just to make sure that they can still feel...

  • Nbanner
    2018-10-05 08:59

    Anjum Hasan is one of the smartest contemporary Indian writers. She writes with feeling, with nuance and with passion. This book isn't as good as Lunatic in my head but there is something to be said for short story collections that are this well-written. These are stories you'd want to come back to on a rainy day and reread them again and again.

  • Sushovan
    2018-10-14 08:51

    frustratingly and tantalizingly incomplete stories.... snippets into the lives of the charactersIt reflects how they are so busy caring about their own lives, and yet unknown to them, all of our lives are so complexly interwoven that all of our lives are affected....

  • Moushumi Ghosh
    2018-09-17 08:58

    I found this book a little less - okay a lot less - engaging than her Lunatic in My Head and even Neti, Neti. I read it because I wanted to find that headiness which I associate with Hasan. Some stories were real gems, others just petered out blandly.

  • Nishant Jha
    2018-10-12 08:07

    Completely baseless and senseless collection of short-stories! overall a waste of time and money for me as except 1-2 stories none of them were good enough to hold my attention! and the last one was the worst...as they say "save the worst for the last"! My recommendation - JUST AVOID!

  • Manjul Bajaj
    2018-09-28 14:05

    Quite, quite liked this collection as a whole. Though a few stories failed to move, the others more than made up for them. ‘Wild Things’ was absolutely brilliant to my mind. Others that stood out were for ‘For Love or Water’ and ‘Good Housekeeping’.

  • Amritha
    2018-10-06 06:59

    Currently reading this one. I agree with some reviews, the stories are very frustratingly incomplete. Up until now there has not been a single story that gave me the feeling of wanting to know more; I was mostly disinterested. I don't think I'll be able to finish this one!

  • Athena
    2018-09-30 09:02

    Quite interesting. Been a while since an Indian woman writer got my attention. She isn't excellent, but good enough to make me want to pick up her other books.

  • David
    2018-10-11 07:10

    it gets into the inner sleeve of the city dwellers. bangalore in this case. it was a wonderful experience - subtle,lucid, gentle, severe, loving...

  • Vindi
    2018-09-26 06:56

    More a 2.5

  • Anuradha Goyal
    2018-09-22 08:48

    Short Urban Stories - http://www.anureviews.com/difficult-p...

  • Ranjitha
    2018-10-10 09:56

    its quite interesting for me.... saturday night is my fav one bcoz its unexpected climax.. am only concentrated on saturday night and Banerjee & Banerjee.