Title - Globetrotting for Love and Other Stories from Sakhalin Island
Author - Ajay Kamalakaran
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - TOI Books
ISBN - 978-93-86206-26-8
A brilliant collection of stories is not the right word here but I am forced to use it since I could not find anything superior to praise this book. Writing a novel is comparatively easier than writing a dozen of short stories since you need to show a variation in each and every story which the author has successfully achieved it through this book.
His profession of being an editor in Sakhalin Times in a small place called Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk for around 5 years is clearly visible in his writings. Having said that, I should also appreciate the usage of few Russian words here and there which has made even a novice like me to learn some of them. For instance I now know Khorosho stands for Okay, Gopniks means a petty thief/robber or bandit.
If you ask me to pick the favorite story among this collection, it is difficult but I would still go for the very first story "The Cleaning Lady" where it is all about the self esteem of a lady who would not compromise her character for anything. There were various other stories which talks about ethnic conflicts, love, betrayal, sudden found fortune, etc to name a few.
The place Sakhalin rose to prominence due to the discovery of oil resources which saw the sudden splurge in the economy due to the availability of liquid cash. This made the place to be frequented by Westerners and native Russians who came seeking for better prospects. This was something similar to that of KGF(Kolar Gold Fields) which was buzzing with Gold excavation activities for few years though the geography and economy was completely different.
To sum it up, I would surely recommend this book to be read and it is certainly a class apart as it exhibits the brilliance and real life experience of the author which has been caught vividly through various short stories in this book.
The book is available on Amazon