Among the stars by Dhasa Sathyan – I got this book in a writer’s meet. I was a spectator while published authors shared their gyan of how to go about writing your novel, publishing it and marketing it. I was pleasantly surprised to find my friend Anand Nagarajan in the crowd. I later came to know that his student had released a book and it was available then and there. I bought it right away.
Blurb : What would you give to know your future? What happens when poison becomes your only elixir? Does happily ever after exists for real? Does love transcend time and death? What would it take to make you kill your closest?
Among the stars is a collection of stories hat answer such questions we seldom ask aloud, as it treads along the gossamer thread that separates reality and fantasy, life and death, a hero and a villain. Arjun listens to the stories from his favorite hero, his dad – a magician who could spin the stories that make the world disappear. The collection portrays the magical relationship between a story teller and his faithful audience.
My Take : There are totally 22 stories in this collection of short stories. The last one “The Second Genesis” is the longest one with six sections. I am not a fan of short story anthologies if they do not follow a theme. The 22 stories are of various genres , which was kind of unsettling to me. The writer had taken pains to sculpt each word. It shows that he had taken pains to find the apt word for each and every situation and sentences. As I am one of those people who would like to finish a book in one go, it was like a roller coaster ride. I enjoyed it but it also brought some dizziness. I am not sure if it was intentional or not, but most of the stories get philosophical which takes away for a minute from the story and reflect upon it. I like the stories which give deeper meanings as I go through the story, without underestimating me. For example, the concept of time and god vary from people to people. Instead of hammering down the point with dialogues, I would have loved to read it with the flow of the story. For a moment, the story disappeared there and the lecturer appears.
And I also felt the author tried too many genres in one book. It is very difficult to jump from one story to another even though there is a thread connects all the chapters of the book. While the story “Blood Money” shook us up with its nonchalance, the next story muse comes in as a paranormal concept, only to fizzle out in the middle. While we feel happy for the decision of a mother who couldn’t see her daughter abused in the story “Lone Soldier”, the next story “First Kiss” comes in as shock. The stories could have ordered better to ascend the wow factor. Such interruptions put me off greatly and I was not able to finish the book in single sitting. In fact this is one of the books I took very long to finish.
My picks would be Lone Soldier, Fork and Blood Money. I don’t know why but I had the feel that the stories were thought out in Tamil and then was translated to English. If that was true, I would love to read the Tamil versions of these stories because I feel that it would bring in more depth to each and every story that was told in this anthology.
I am not the one to rate books. I cannot put marks for creativity and art. Go for it if you like some philosophical nuggets along with short stories based on rural and urban India.
You can buy the book here.