Monday, August 17, 2015

Review- The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories by Rochelle Potkar

Goodreads Summary:

Narain who lusts for Munika, hypnotized by her bosom in The Arithmetic of Breasts, and old Jaganlal who wants a favour from young Dia in The Room with a Sea-view.

Jackie who is in love with Nic in Sky Park, and the surgeon in Dr. Love who is changing much more than Sneha’s hairline, nose, lip and chin.

Shonali and Neel who are realizing that infidelity might not be such an easy thing in The Scent of a Conscience, and a woman who walks the tight rope between tradition and sexual exploitation in A place they call Scary.

And Sunil who meets the woman of his desires in What Men Want through an adult dating site.

Through these stories, Rochelle Potkar explores the intensely personal ‘unrelationship’ that exists alongside its conventional and socially articulate twin, the relationship.


*NOTE: We (The Readdicts) received a copy of The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories by Rochelle Potkar from the author in exchange for an honest review. We thank Rochelle for the book! 

Author Rochelle Potkar's The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories is a very offbeat and interesting collection of short stories that focuses on a series of themes, but ends up being about sexual drives and desires mostly. When I first heard about the book, I assumed that the common theme in all the stories would be the female breast- which is what made it interesting for me, as I have worked on the subject before. It was only when I read the first story that I realised that The Arithmetic of Breasts is just the title of the first story. So while exploitation of the breast wasn't the focus of this collection, it still leans towards feminism, which works well enough for me. 

While some of the stories seemed every vague and sometimes incomprehensible to me, the others were absolute hits. Some of my most favourite being- The Arithmetic of Breasts, Dr. Love, The Scent of a Conscience and Our Lovers. These four out of a total of nine stories really struck a chord with me, not just because they ticked all the boxes of some great story-telling on the part of the author, but also because these stories had human emotions and feelings at their core, which made it very raw and real. Some were even uncanny and rather difficult to fathom just because of the intensity of them. But honestly, those are the stories I hunt for, so it was satisfying. 

Coming to author Rochelle Potkar's writing, it was very smooth and easy to follow. The language was really well thought of and developed, with as tiny a use of colloquial language as possible, which is again a hit. I can easily see Rochelle's writing next to the feminist giants of the literary world that I have grown to admire and appreciate. I feel that the author's stories and most importantly, her story-telling are both very powerful. Just the way every story was different from the other and was equally gripping at the same time is real work on the author's part. 

Overall, there were a few stories in The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories that I don't really care about, but as mentioned before, there are four stories that really stood out for me and that I have carried with me outside of the book. This is a great collection of short stories that really makes sense, has the reader contemplate over common human urges and basically just keep the reader occupied and entertained as well. It's definitely worth a read, or two in case one loves a story so much that it calls for reread or to just read some stories again only to understand them better. 



  1. It's always like that with short stories, some are hit and others are miss, so I totally understand you here. I'm glad that you loved some of the stories and books that deal with feminism are always interesting to me (big part of my studies revolved around it). Glad you enjoyed it. Amazing review, Sarika :)

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