Dhasa Sathya’s debut with his collection of short stories. He is an acquaintance, and we are just 100+ kilometers away. We met at an event, As we share the same mother tongue, it was good to catch up and share our thoughts. And I bought his book where we had all our books displayed. However, the review is honest and we are better enemies than friends with the difference of opinions about vocabulary, so trust me the review is not biased.
The novel is a collection of short stories written by Dhasa Sathya, different genres, and themes, but he loops each story. Independently, the stories make sense as well and if you read with the flow, again it sounds fine.
It starts off where the father narrates a story to his son. The first two stories are perfumed which sophisticated words, but then the other stories had pedestrian words, my anticipation of dictionary usage was fooled. Most reviews already spoke much about the vocabulary. I just thought, if this book is not perfumed with vocabulary, it would sound just like another anthology with short stories from writers. One part of me says the stories demand the vocabulary for its level of stories have something in store to analyze and understand. An excellent start for Sathya.
First Impression – I remember asking him to change the title as its published already, he was stubborn and it did help. The cover – am not much satisfied, but yeah, it suits the novel on the whole. Blurb could have been better.
Overall Impression – I personally love moral stories and those who makes one think. Definitely a superb read, nice surprises and on par with excellence. I don’t buy short story collections as such, as being more of a novel person. This book is an exception, I actually liked it more than any other short story collections I have read so far.
What did I love about the book? – The sentence structure and thought process of the author. He structures a simple observation in a breathtaking manner. Some examples:
May be we are blanketed in a cocoon of darkness and the stars are pinpricks through which the light from the outside shines – The one sentence I will always think of when I look at the sky, I loved this description.
I lit a cigarette to my mouth and inhaled hard. I could feel my body relaxing as the nicotine spread through my blood stream.
Most monsters roam among us, hidden beneath the mask of humans
The flowers adorned the neat braid of the young man the next minute, adding to her radiant beauty.
A transparent cloud of smoke – His definition of a ghost, made me smile.
The book also reminded me non-detail readings, where I am used to checking for the number of pages before I start the story.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Wow Factors: 1) Thought process 2) Simple and powerful stories 3) Font and font size changes used for transition – though it took me 2 stories to understand the change, then I got the pace.
Frown Factors: 1) The use of names – mostly it’s ‘Sanjay’ it was hard to change the avatar of Sanjay for every 5 to 10 pages. Also in the second story all 4 character names were similar starting with the letter ‘S’ and it literally pissed me off to understand who is what. 2) He started off with a story about telling stories and within stories comes another story, it was clumsy in a few places. I felt instead of a father-son narration if he had attempted something different, it would have worked much much better.
My opinion: “The block”, “Free as a bird”, “Into Oblivion”, “The Lone Soldier” are my personal favorites. I loved the book overall.
To the author: Fantastic is a mediocrity, and even your own vocabulary has no word to express appreciation. I love the thought process and the writer specs of yours, I look forward to your next work. You have right proportion of out of the box thinking, way of writing, grammar and vocabulary, and sentence structure, am sure that you’ll go places if your manuscript hits the right publishers.