iUniverse, $12.95, ISBN 978-0-595-47992-4
Contemporary Fiction, 2008
Karma, Chameleon is a collection of short stories about love, laughter, and heartbreak. The underlying theme uniting these stories is that they always involve at least one Indian character. In other words, it’s East meets West time. Unfortunately for me, I am not the correct audience for this book since Ms Price delights in unhappy endings or cruel twists of irony that even a happy ending comes off as whacked or dysfunctional.
After a while, the author becomes so predictable that I can pretty much predict her “twist” at the end of each story. A character is in love? That person he or she is in love with turns out to be a liar or worse. A character is being too happy? Oh look, something will happen to crush this person’s dreams. And on and on until I find myself wondering whether Ms Price wants to tell me a story or show off how much she can make her characters suffer.
Ultimately, the author’s method of operation, so to speak, becomes so predictable and obvious that reading this book becomes a chore because there is hardly any surprises anymore. I have a feeling that Ms Price must be trying to pull a Saki on her readers but her stories here are limited in the sense that I can see the “twists” coming. After reading a few of Ms Price’s stories, I’m on to her tricks. Perhaps all that can be overlooked if the stories have something more profound to say other than “life sucks”, but that isn’t the case here.
Ultimately, Karma, Chameleon just isn’t my cup of tea.