Chaotic Alleys #ShortStories by Mahesh Nair

Please welcome my author buddy Mahesh Nair who has recently released his debut book – ‘Chaotic Alleys: Collected Works.’ I was enthralled by this book as Mahesh’s short stories unfold like opening a treasure chest; you have to delve deeper to find the gems hidden in the corners – such is his style of writing.

Chaotic Alleys: Collected Works is a fiction compilation of micro, flash, and short stories published, shortlisted, longlisted, and anthologized in journals and magazines.

“I appreciate expression that provokes my senses, causes my gut to rise or settle. If the words remain with me as images, it’s a winner. Mahesh’s writing has done this,” says Bela Johnson — Editor, Writer, & Former Host of Alternative Currents on WERU-FM

Purchase link

My Review:

True to its name, ‘Chaotic Alleys’ escorts you into turbulent lanes of life that diverge into unimaginable proportions. Some of them open into positive vistas but much depends on your own perspective and interpretation. Fresh and poignant, Mahesh Nair’s flash fiction says volumes in just a few words, each one loaded! His stories are close to reality yet unpredictable. They compel you to ponder, as the depth of his words is mysterious.

This book is divided into three parts: flash fiction, short stories and micro-fiction. You could finish it within an hour or keep returning to fathom some profound and chilling truths. Read how callous compassion is, what a sham some wishes are, what a mockery people make of their existence. These stories would shake you to search the exact meaning of life; the elusive realities would unfold with an alarming authenticity. 

‘The Budding 90s’ is layered in the mystery of words; it doesn’t speak about the relationship shared by Amit and Samir but lets you discern what his “walking partner” means to Amit. The symbols of ‘heat’ and ‘rivulets of rainwater’ may seem paradoxical but they add a brilliant dimension to the story. ‘Water’ that trickles from the window and ceiling complete the societal and religious constraints that threaten to weaken their souls.

A subtle comment on the plight of couriers, ‘Alert, Alert’ unravels the truth about parsimonious people. Do they even know what is gratitude? Could they ever understand what compels the couriers to keep going despite the callous attitude of those who sit in the comfort of their offices and get served with the food of their choice? The flashbacks of Samaira’s life add a touch of poignancy to her struggle.

‘A Distance Away’ stunned me, as it is completely unpredictable. Written in an unusual style, it sounds like a normal cruise date, as Randy seems to love Jane. Like a meandering stream, their thoughts don’t give any inkling where they are going to lead each other. This one is my favorite! No guessing would lead you to the truth that unfolds. 

While I sympathize with Samaira, ‘Breathlessly Yours’ left me spellbound. I smiled at the optimism of Jon; would his dreams of wooing a woman, two decades younger than him come true? You’ll have to read to find out.

Nair’s characters exude dynamism but something hides behind their persona that raises the story above the mundane. Whether it is Randy or Jon – two entirely different men, they are well defined and memorable; they may seem realistic yet they are not! The hallmark of Nair’s stories is variety and tone, so different from the traditional ones. Highly recommended.

Meet the Author:

Mahesh Nair studied creative fiction at New York University. He won Strands International Flash Fiction Award, was shortlisted for Bath Flash Fiction Award and Micro Madness NFFD New Zealand, long listed twice for Reflex Fiction prize, and highly commended twice at London Independent Story Prize. His work has appeared in Barren Magazine, Literary Orphans, The Bookends Review, Smokebox, Paragraph Planet, 101 Words, AdHoc Fiction, BlinkInk Print, and Crack the Spine, and is featured in three anthologies. He was a contributing author for a CNF anthology, Lady by the River.

Connecting links:

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Balroop Singh.

54 thoughts on “Chaotic Alleys #ShortStories by Mahesh Nair

  1. What a great review! A collection of short stories is great for reading between longer works. I like that they enable you to read an entire story and then go back and read another. This sounds like a compelling collection. All the best to Mahesh with his release. Thanks for sharing, Balroop!

    1. So true Mae! You just can’t read it once, as each sentence is loaded. While reading these stories, I was reminded of Somerset Maugham whose pithy style is unmatchable. Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts.

  2. What a wonderful review, Balroop! This is a new author to me and I have added his collection of shorts to my TBR list! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Wow, Balroop, that’s a fantastic review that reads like poetry! Thanks for introducing me to Mahesh and his book. It sounds wonderful. Congrats to Mahesh on the debut release. 🙂

    1. Yes Diana, I am totally in awe of Mahesh’s style of writing. He explores a new one with each story and refuses to be bowed down by traditional or modern styles. 😊

  4. A lovely review, Balroop. This sounds very unique. I am adding it to my TBR. Thanks for sharing Mahesh’s work here. Congratulations, Mahesh on your latest release! Love the cover, too.

  5. What a great review, Balroop. The description–“unfold like opening a treasure chest” hooks me and then “compel you to ponder”–keeps me. This sounds lovely.

  6. Wow, what a review, Balroop! I felt the same way as Jacqui did about your description, “…short stories unfold like opening a treasure chest.” Mahesh sounds like a fabulous writer and I look forward to reading his book. Thanks for sharing! Lauren 💗

    1. Oh Yes Lauren, Mahesh’s stories need to be read, as they bring out a myriad emotions, without any drama. I am sure you are going to enjoy them. Thank you for coming over to cheer us.

  7. I plan to read “Chaotic Alleys” within the next few months, Balroop. This book was brought to my attention on Yvette’s blog site. Now, after reading your review I am even more intrigued about these stories. A wonderful review, Balroop. You bring up a great point “…much depends on your own perspective and interpretation.” Yay, “highly recommend.”

    1. Many thanks for your lovely words Erica. Some stories are so thought-provoking that you have to interpret in your own way and this collection is a perfect example. I am glad you are planning to read this wonderful book. You would surely enjoy it. Happy reading. 🥰

  8. Chaotic Alleys is not just a compilation of stunning & captivating award winning short stories, but a “delicacy” that you wouldn’t feel like gobbling it at once rather enjoy every bite of it.
    1984 Delhi, A bicycle , The budding 90’s , A distance away & many more such stories in this book left me completely spellbound. Each story with unpredictable twists and turns kept me hooked to it till the last page & I felt like reading & re reading it time & again . Hope Mr. Nair continues to create magical cocoon with his writing style & amazing concoction of profound emotions & characters that seem so real 🙂 .
    And Yes , it’s highly recommended book and thrilling enough to keep you on the edge of your seat for sure.

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