by Preeti Rajput
Clean Slate is a collection of twelve short stories. Each of them is concerned with consequences. Consequences of actions and choices whether these are made consciously or forced to be made by the situations in which we find ourselves. Most of tales are borne from everyday experiences but a few also bring in the supernatural.
Personally, the best stories in this collection were Mr Professor, Sales Executive and Second Chance. All three had some quite profound ideas and I especially liked the reference to a ‘silent slap’ in Mr Professor. I thought Green-Haired Fairy was one of the weaker in the anthology and should not have been the first story. Some of the others: Honest Idiot and The Missing Stuff were promising but the endings were a little clumsy and petered out. I did like Story of a Laptop but it was over-long despite Ms Rajput nicely building the tension. The last two; Flowers from Heaven and My Tech-Savvy Father were quite poignant and slightly different to the preceding. There was a twist in Flowers from Heaven that I did not expect and was very thought-provoking.
All of the twelve have an otherworldly aspect to them; not quite fairy story more allegory. There was some good writing and clever ideas in all of the stories. However, I did feel some needed a little refinement both in terms of the structure and the narrative voice. Ms Rajput is an Indian native and the stories are immersed and rooted in her culture which was fascinating to a reader of a very different background. For a writer for whom English is not their first language, this collection is quite an achievement.
Overall, I thought these were a really endearing collection written by an Author who I will be very interested to see mature.