Among the Stars: A collection of short stories by
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars
It has taken me a long time to complete this collection of short stories written by debutant author Dhasa Sathyan. I think it’s an wonderful way of presenting a string of ideas in form of connected stories and author is able to pull off quite a fantastic collection of tales ranging from horror to psychology to satire.
To begin with, the author has presented an idea of father telling his son stories looking at the night stars. It’s great feeling in itself and while reading the stories it felt like the author first penned down all the storied and then tried to connect them by a general theme of father telling stories to his son(and also by naming almost all the protagonists as Sanjay). But the stories are neither interconnected nor logically inviting to the next story and rather it’d be safe to say that those conversations between father and son can either be developed better or be removed completely.
And for the stories, I am surprised to witness a talent of this magnitude hidden for this long time. In fact, few opening stories are so good that I almost had decided to make it the “Book Of The Month” of my blog.
Why do babies cry? is a strange way to start a cocktail of stories but it is fine by me, though has not been of much impact.
Next comes one of my favorites of the lot: The escape route, it’s strange and very original. Turning of a regular software engineer into a zombie though seems a bizarre idea, is absolutely possible in literal sense. Reader should note that it’s just a metaphor to describe our shitty city life. And his following way of narration has tempted me to make it BOTM.
It was ironical. Mike did get his “Escape Route” in the end. He escaped from the daily routine, the troubles of a wannabe. The troubles of a middle class man. Sanjay would have gladly swapped places with Mike. Sanjay started laughing. Life sure is ironical. He laughed. You grow jealous at a man who had a pathetic life and died in restroom, eaten by crazed zombies. He laughed. The story was a dumb one. He laughed. The sound of the maniacs? They were nowhere near intimidating. He laughed. He would have swapped places with anyone in the story. He laughed. It would have been a good “Escape Route”. He laughed at his own satire joke.
There was a pen right near him. Nothing would knock his rockers off enough to attack Vikram sitting right next to him. It was a dumb story. He laughed. He took the pen off the stand. What was the sound again?
It would be damn funny to scare the shit out of Vikram as he brandished the knife in his face shrieking. He tried to make the noise again.
That felt kind of nice. Why don’t we just stab him a little? Sanjay thought to himself.
He held the pen high and swung it down, harder than he thought, towards Vikram’s neck just as Vikram turned around.
The block: Two dons, meet up for a deal and there someone was killed for better chance of becoming the next don. It took me a while to figure that it was just a story on writer’s block. Wondering how? Read and go figure.
The Muse: About a horror fiction writer who became a national sensation (which is quite a strange thing). It pretty much reminds me of the Oscar winning movie Amedeus.
The Mission: It’s a gory story on cannibalism which is described perfectly.
Blood Money: It’s a story about a prostitute. Well, there are so many on the same. But this one is a masterpiece because it portrays hurdles of life in a mockery of happily ever after couple. Read it.
Poison Elixir: Schizophrenia that turned into a cure.
The fork: A pretty familiar horror story brings freshness in it by providing choices to reader upon which fate of its protagonists are decided. I absolutely like this idea as it reminds me of few adorable video games I have played.
Happily Ever After: A strange combination of a doctor unable to stop slipping lives out of his hands and his childhood full of tragedies.
The Uncertainty Factor: I would say that this story is a metaphorical and theoretical one trying to combine quantum physics with real life philosophy. Heisenberg’s theory itself is so fascinating that this one is bound to be there in your mind for a long time. Another good piece.
The Second Genesis: Till now, I have to read short fiction in between breaks I get in my daily chores, which is a reason for the long time it has taken to complete. But the last one is a treat; a 50 page long novella, equally thrilling and exciting like a big long thriller novel. I’d say, it’s an excellent effort by the author revealing his capability in longer fiction.
Then comes few normal-nice-and-not-so-awesome stories like Distance Matters (effect of distance on love), Dream of a lifetime, Free as a bird (child sexual abuse; a great theme but not executed properly), First Kiss (won’t spoil, read it), Into Oblivion (Bhagban recreated with artistic touch), The Lone Soldier (a health accident turned into a twisted conspiracy. Good one, but not up to the mark of other stories.).
On a final note, I like to mention the author’s good vocabulary and brilliant use of the same. Though, in many places, he could have beautified the prose a bit with the kind of sonorous words he has. And this is the first time I’ve come across with an author who is obsessed with description of dreams (which I don’t know why, people don’t like that much). I am a fan of dream-like description.
The author will become a notable talent in future if he can come up with a full-fledged novel as beautiful and philosophical as this collection of stories. I’ll be looking up to you for your future work. Godspeed.
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