Godfall and Other Stories by Sandra M Odell

The stories are murky, grim and slightly futuristic but based on places and locations of the present world. The stories move from one place of the globe to another and portray other wordly events that are apocalyptic and cataclysmic in nature.

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Title: Godfall and Other Stories

Author: Sandra M Odell

Publisher: Hydra House

Date of Publication: 18 April 2018

Rating: 4/5

godfall

A collection of twenty two odd tales, Godfall and Other Stories by Sandra M Odell is an interesting read for lovers of short fiction. Varied with a tendency to be obscure and far fetched, this collection is brilliantly written to cater to the tastes of readers who are always on the go and do not have time to sit and read lengthy novels.

Just like the title of the collection, individual stories revolve around human and non human creatures who can leave the reader equally shocked and surprised with their funny ways. By funny of course, there is no reference to humour of any kind. The stories are murky, grim and slightly futuristic but based on places and locations of the present world. The stories move from one place of the globe to another and portray other wordly events that are apocalyptic and cataclysmic in nature. It can be well understood that if what is understood to be the Omniscient and Omnipotent Divinity that has its reach to the farthest corner of the earth ends of falling off from the sky then what will become of the events of this world? It is this chaos that is imagined up by Odell in imbibing a fiction that is one of its kind and very refreshing. Some interesting titles include Ink, Curtain Call and Lost in Translation. 

Each story is followed by a brief explanation in short passages regarding its conception, the real life events that triggered them and the methods used by Odell to configure these into the stories that leave traces of bewilderment in the minds of the readers. Though largely the stories are indescribable that a sort of frantic mode of narration creates, they are filled with pathos and grab the reader’s attention immediately. There is also a mix of ancient mythology and mysticism in creating and naming the characters and their attributes. It all adds to an enchanting vibe to the collection that is rare considering the absence of multiple authors. Yet, every story is unique, highly speculative wonderfully thrilling in a close knit manner without any loopholes. What adds to the interest is the wonderful book cover that depicts a horned goat like figure leaning onto a soldier character who are rowing a boat over bones, skull, human remains and a fallen cross which shows the condition of religion in this make believe world.

Scary, quirky and mysterious.

Fate and Fortune: A Collection of Short Stories by Nrupal Das

A collection of six short stories, Fate and Fortune is an engaging collection for all ages. The titles include Tea and Magic, Catch Me If You Can!, Knock on My Doors, A Novel Comes Knocking, Lime Diary, Babe on A Beach. 

Title: Fate and Fortune: A Collection of Short Stories

Author: Nrupal Das

Publisher: Diffon ePress

Date of Publication: 30 September 2017

Rating: 3.7/5

fate

A collection of six short stories, Fate and Fortune is an engaging collection for all ages. The titles include Tea and Magic, Catch Me If You Can!, Knock on My Doors, A Novel Comes Knocking, Lime Diary, Babe on A Beach. 

The book begins with the story of a newly widowed lady waiting anxiously for her son to return home while talking to her neighbour Sudha Aunty in Tea and Magic. Over a cup of tea, their conversation leads to the revelation that the lady had been a victim of domestic violence for several years but it was on one fateful evening that Sudha Aunty heard her screams and rescued this frail neighbour. Ever since Sudha Aunty is a motherly figure to the lady. But things are never so simple and magic unlike illusion is never free of the dark.

Catch Me If You Can is the story of a lazy horse who grows up to be a race horse called Rome lovingly by the others. He is a swift stallion and the story is an interesting monologue on his behalf about his childhood, his human masters, training sessions and his other horse friends. Compared to the other stories it is rather light and comical.

Ghosts haunt A Knock at My Door as a man relates the story of the captivating Madhupur girl Annapurna and the series of unfortunate events that surrounded her marital life ending in the tragic deaths of her husband and son. She is termed as a witch by the villagers and the listener is startled with the news sudden death. It is dark and interesting.

A novel arrives at the door of a young boy and it surprisingly reveals every incident that is to happen in his life in A Novel Comes Knocking. Nothing happens otherwise and the novel relates very closely to the people in his life too.

In another story, Suman’s diary entries are published by a friend who has been looking for her and has also filed a missing person report. Suman had named it the Lime Diary out of the belief that it will bring her to the limelight. Repetitive patterns of events are constantly noted in the diary particularly the stains of blood found frequently on the kitchen floor, slab or on the switch board but CCTV cameras don’t record anything unfamiliar. Whose blood is it then?

The book ends with a light story of a couple Sid and Shruti who are holidaying on the beach and find their swimwear clad photos all over the internet and in the news the next morning. This high profile couple find it extremely hard to keep things out of public eye while Sid regrets not making things known to the public earlier to save themselves from this scandal. It is Shruti’s wit and openness that helps sort things out later giving the story a fruitful ending.

Above all what really sums up this short compendium is the book’s simple yet thoughtful cover. It is a dice that shows three sides with the words live, die and run written on it. These three words aptly summarise the ethos of the stories and the variety provided in the collection. The stories are full of emotions, quite refreshing and may at times feel very much like short films.

The Boy by Nrupal Das

There are not too many twists and turns though it is somewhat of a thriller in the sense that it deals with the mystery of the missing child.

Title: The Boy

Author: Nrupal Das

Publisher: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited

Date of Publication: 10 February 2018

Rating: 4/5

boy

Childhood is a fascinating time in the life of young minds who are ever eager to learn and all ears to every story they come across. Young Amit is no different. He loves playing cricket with his friends and always  listens intently to the stories that his grandfather relays with zeal about the mysteries of the universe. His anxious mother’s worries know no bounds when one fine day Amit does not return home after cricket practice with his friends.

The boy in The Boy is featured on the lead character Amit who is in his early teens and like any other boy his age, likes to eat all the yummy dishes that his mother cooks and play a good game of cricket with his buddies. The story is written in a plain and simple style with a unidirectional narrative. There are not too many twists and turns though it is somewhat of a thriller in the sense that it deals with the mystery of the missing child. Though the horrors and thrills are not over emphasized by hinting at any abduction scenes and does not have a lot of adventure. The language used is very simple to follow and flows with the narrative. The vocabulary is not too difficult making it an interesting read for children and young adults. Though it can be read by all, the target audience for this book is ideally the teenage group.

The story ends positively when the entire neighborhood come together to hunt Amit down. He only ends up revealing himself to his mother’s and everyone’s surprise. Was Amit hiding? No. Amit was in fact on a secret duty and it is something he performs everyday. Set at a length of only fourteen pages, this short story can be easily read in a single sitting and on-the-go. The surprise ending is unusual and cannot be easily guessed. With themes of spirituality centering around Lord Jagannath of Puri, the story ends with anecdotes of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses as well as their attributes. Das is particularly very descriptive of the scenes and surroundings that help in building the story while the characters are slowly added. But the story still remains rather simple and unembellished. However, it ultimately focuses on the relationship of the mother-son duo, Amit and his mother.