Ever heard of an entire book being created by 5 authors using one photograph as a basic focal point? Well, it’s for real and ‘One Girl, Many Lives’ is a live example of such harmony! I always enjoy contemporary writing because it’s so fresh and always attempts to break the shackles of traditional writing.
Modern-age Collaborative Writing: One book, 5 authors!
It intrigued me when I read that One Girl, Many Lives is a collaborative writing effort by 5 authors viz, Ajit, Anshu, Jithin, Priya, Sona. Each story is written by all 5 authors, one after the other. Each author started one story, passed on the story to the next author and so on till each of them had written one part of it and each author had finished one story. The editor coordinated the transition of the stories.
The eclectic nature of this book allows readers to swing between moods and situations.DiaryOfAInsaneWriter
The authors have written 3 stories against the backdrop of landmark events from 1947 to 2000. Thought-provoking timelines form the backdrop of the other 2 stories.DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter
How does collaborative writing work? Especially in this case?
- The basic focal point for each story is the cover photo
- There was a guideline laid down to create the stories
- They agreed upon the basic plot of each story – each being unique
- The language, dialect, culture, ideology of each story is as per the plots
- Readers get 5 different perspectives as the stories span from 1947 to 2135
What I loved about the book?
The background of each of the stories is very interesting and makes for a good read. There is something to learn from each story. The vocabulary is modern and reader-friendly. Except in one story, the authors have kept profanity away. Though a few of the stories have love stories woven within them, they have kept erotic writing away. It’s a clean and healthy read. The eclectic nature of this book allows readers to swing between moods and situations.
A special applause for Abitha S, the Editor of One Girl, Many Lives – the success of the narrative lay on her able shoulders. It would have been quite a challenge to bring together a book written by authors with different writing styles.
The Lone Flight
(Sona/ Anshu/ Jithin/ Ajit/ Priya)
Set in 1947, this story is a stark reminder of what the common man went through as the political leaders played their game of power politics. The Lone Flight is a first-person narrative that leaves a gaping void within one’s heart.
In the wake of the partition, a school-going, teenage, Hindu girl is caught between the Hindu-Muslim riots & massacre of 1947. Her entire world turns upside down as she fights for survival. The Lone Flight is a gripping story that narrates the story of the partition through the eyes of a young girl.
“Some day you will learn that people can be both unimaginably kind and incredibly cruel” – Jhai to Jassi in The Lone Flight.One Girl, Many Lives by Sona/ Anshu/ Jithin/ Ajit/ Priya
(Ajit/ Jithin/ Priya/ Anshu/ Sona)
24th July 1983: The lesser-known Tamil riots in the island nation of Sri Lanka led to the killing of hundreds of people, the civil war lasted for 3 decades after that. The gory tale of loss of one’s home, relatives, friends, family and identity is told using the third-person narrative with Tamilian Nithin as the central character.
The plan is to go to India and then flee to Australia with his wife and daughter. He seeks help from his Sinhalese friends and his aging father to rebuild his life. He finds himself caught in a crossfire of ideologies and stories of revenge.
The mob gave everyone a mask to lynch people. It was like a collective organism that hides behind a misplaced sense of unity: quoted from Black JulyOne Girl, Many Lives by Ajit/ Jithin/ Priya/ Anshu/ Sona
(Anshu/ Priya/ Sona/ Jithin/ Ajit)
Y2K: This story is a welcome break after two intense stories on riots. Amy Richards, a banker in New York is working on the Y2K bug for her employers. She comes across a beautiful painting of an Indian girl running on the shore. It’s made by a local painter, Leo. The painting somehow grips her attention, and she sets out on a journey of self-discovery and genuine love.
They narrate this beautiful story in the 3rd person with Amy as the central character. The reason for the Y2K bug and its relation to communication in a romantic relationship is amazing to read. It’s a well-told story of the journey of love and relationships.
Noone is a mind reader. It takes better communication and compromises to understand and live with your partner. – Lily to Amy in Love2kOne Girl, Many Lives by Anshu/ Priya/ Sona/ Jithin/ Ajit
The Runaway Princess
(Jithin/ Sona/ Ajit/ Priya/ Anshu)
This story transports the reader into the very gut of French monarchy and leaving them grappling for answers. The story is told in 3rd person with Celine as the central character of this interesting story. Celine invites Deepak into her life’s story that is laced with conflicts and dangers owing to her lineage.
Celine is a blue blood caught amidst an international conspiracy to kill her. Deepak and she run for their lives in the streets of Marseille in France. Among the many twists, turns and surprises, this story makes the reader swing between romance and danger throughout.
“We Indians believe in fate. We believe that every person who has come to this earth is destined to die at a certain date and time; neither sooner nor later.” – Deepak to Celine in The Runaway PrincessOne Girl, Many Lives by Jithin/ Sona/ Ajit/ Priya/ Anshu
(Priya/ Ajit/ Ansh/ Sona/ Jithin)
They set this story in 2135 when very few people are remaining on earth and human race is looking for alternative planets to inhabit. The story revolves around Lyne and Jamy who lose their daughter during an expedition to an unexplored planet.
Their marriage entered rough waters when they lost their only daughter Holly. It’s an interesting story of the life of scientists who are desperately trying to do good for mankind.
Women will always be women. We can be astronauts, tech experts or archeologists, but we never stop being vain, do we? – Xena to Holly and Lyne in Spaces.One Girl, Many Lives by Priya/ Ajit/ Ansh/ Sona/ Jithin
The downside of the book:
Honestly, there is no real downside in this book. The authors could consider minor formatting changes like putting Hindi words in italics for the next edition or print copy. An avid reader will observe certain discrepancies in the narrative and writing style of the book. These are negligible and expected since there are 5 authors involved.
DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter Verdict: 4.5/5
Modern readers who love a diverse variety of short stories would love this book.DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter
Here are the book-buying links:
Paper back: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B084Q8M8SB/
- Book Name: One Girl, Many Lives
- Editor: Abitha S
- Reviewed By: Mayura Amarkant (DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter)
- Publisher: www.jimpify.com
- Pages and format: 147 pages, ebook & paperback
- Price: INR 99 (ebook) | INR 250 (paperback)
- Language: English
- Genre: Short Stories
- Rating: 4.5/5
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