Thursday, August 07, 2014

Cafe Latte - Review

We are brought up listening to and reading stories, which make us form a clichéd framework of expectations and concepts about life. Café Latte, takes you on a tantalizing foray into the unusual with some refreshing and some startling stories. A young man, Bikash, is delivered a message through paranormal forces while waiting on the railway platform; A doctor snaps a young man back to life by promising to help him commit suicide. A poor boy, Lokesh, dreams of people at a cinema night show perishing in a fire. Will his desperate attempts to save some lives succeed? ‘The Other Side’ is the story of a nymphomaniac fighting her desperate craving for sex. ‘Smart TV’ showcases a smart sales performer, Raj, buying his wife and daughter an expensive TV to cover his affair. ‘Code of Honor’ is a poignant tale of an army jawaan and his last letter to his son who shuns the army. The stories cover a broad spectrum of people and events and have us turning the pages eagerly for the twist in the end.
So shed the mundane, become a fearless traveler and savor a fresh approach towards the enigma called Life.

About the Author
Author of three national bestsellers; Flight of the Hilsa, Chapter 11 & Love is Vodka- A Shot Ain’t Enough, Amit Shankar, with his penchant for telling offbeat stories, has this time found his expression in the form of eighteen, unusual, short stories. He is an avid music buff and a great exponent of the guitar. His genre includes rock, jazz and blues. To know more about him, log on to

What does it take to be different? How can you experience the unusual? Well, one just needs to ask Amit Shankar to get a reply to the first question, and pick up a copy of Café Latte to know the answer of the second.

Short stories are meant to enthrall your senses, to heighten your curiosity, and at the same time, leave you with a feeling of satisfaction towards the end. A good story is one that is riveting and has the potential to keep your attention engrossed at every moment. The task becomes all the more difficult when you have to pour all these ingredients into a concoction of just a few pages, the word limit surely binding you at times. How does one, break these shackles and cook a perfect tale in just a few thousand words?

Amit Shankar, author of three bestsellers – ‘Flight of the Hilsa’, ‘Chapter Eleven’ and ‘Love is Vodka’, comes forth with his fourth title – ‘Café Latte’, a collection of 18 short stories, 16 among them by Amit himself, and two by the talented kids Kartikey Sharma and Vasundhara Goyal, aged ten and sixteen years respectively. The cover is very well designed, with coffee mugs in the background staying true to the name. The layout is grayish while the fonts on the title are colored green, pink and white. An unusual color combination indeed, but it does feel interesting to the eyes.

However, cover alone doesn't make a good book. The content is what matters the most, and here too, Amit delivers as expected. The stories belong to diverse genres. They tell tales of love and hate, loss and gain, and victory and defeat. They make us smile, and cry, and often, we are forced to gape with amazement at the sheer uniqueness of the plot. Though all the tales are different, one thing is common between them – the sense of mystery.

Yes, it is this feeling of ‘what – happens – next’ that binds the readers to this paperback. The sixteen stories by Amit track the different facets of human lives, but in a manner we hadn't expected. Be certain to experience goose bumps when you read these stories.

‘Temple of the King’ narrates the story of living a dream conceptualized by someone you admire, while ’26 Down Express’ leaves you with chilling beads of perspiration. In ‘The Jazz Player’, one can relate to the ironies of life, whereas ‘Let Me Help You Die’ chills you right through your bones. ‘Writer’s Block’ comes with a smiling twist, ‘True Lies’ teaches you to be positive, whatever the circumstances, and ‘ The Black Widow’, my favorite in the book, is like that piece of haunting melody that keeps ringing in your mind. ‘The Lion, The Leopard And The Hyena’ rediscovers love and lies, whereas ‘The Chosen One’ makes one believe in fate and destiny. ‘Home Sweet Home’ is a mixture of love, compassion, obsession and ironies. ‘The Other Side’ is the journey of a woman, often lonely, always alone. ‘The Dream Chaser’ leaves the readers with a bitter-sweet feeling, while ‘Smart TV’ showcases the danger of the increasing ‘smartness’ in modern gadgets. ‘The Guardian Angel’ will make you smile, ‘Code of Honor’ has the tinge of patriotism, and ‘Every Mouse Ain't A Mickey Mouse’ is all about the rat race in modern world.

Café Latte is a book you can pick up any day, summer or winter, spring or autumn, or while savoring the monsoon rains. The stories amuse you and refresh you, just like the sweet smelling coffee drink that’s a perfect mixture of espresso and steamed milk.

Title: Café Latte
Authors: Amit Shankar
Publisher: Vitasta Publishing
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
No. of Pages: 208
Price: Rs 150
My Rating: 4/5


  1. Some people are bestowed with all kinds of talents. That is what Amit Shankar is and Amrit Sinha is not less.