30 October, 2013

#BookReview :: The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma...and other hauntings by Manish Mahajan

The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma…and other hauntings’ is an anthology of 12 ghost stories mostly set in India, and is meant for an audience with a penchant for the supernatural. Even with the constraints of a short story, each tale is rich in details and these dozen stories cover all the time tested classical elements of ghost fiction writing. From the story of the young man who inexplicably vanishes to the epic tale of the haunted Peepal tree in Rajasthan; from the true story of a ghost station in West Bengal to the medieval legend of the scary well on a remote island; from the mysterious tick and cross markings in a graveyard to the haunting music coming from a locked room… this collection of supernatural tales serves to be a perfect literary cocktail for night time reading.

This book is a collection of 12 short stories with some amount of paranormal touch. 12 stories told through 60 odd pages leaves very little scope for me to tell you about each story without giving out some spoiler. So instead of reviewing each story separately, I will review the book as a whole. And frankly, when I accepted this book for review I had no idea about what to expect from it. Ofcourse, ghosts of some sort would be part of each story – but what else? Would it be like Ahaat, the old TV series that always had me in splits or would it be more like Conjuring, the recent movie that everyone seems to swear as ‘really scary’? Would it be Stephen King material, that’s guaranteed to be freaky or more like Goosebumps series, that did give me goosebumps as a child but now I find it merely entertaining.

This book stands apart from all of the above mentioned books. For starters, the author has limited his story telling to a couple of pages and that I find a great constraint. How can you introduce and develop characters, set up the environment and then tell a story within those few pages? Well, an author attempting at short stories has to be a master of words to be and an outstanding story teller to able to be able to accomplish this else it would just leave the readers unsatisfied. Manish Mahajan has indeed mastered this art. His language and narration style has no flaws and each story ends on a satisfactory note. Not all of the stories are scary. Some are ironic and some are simply tragic, yet all of them have that eerie feeling you look for in a horror story. Each story is different from the other guaranteeing that the reader will find something to like. My personal favourites were The Secret in the Photograph, Raag Bhimpalasi and Her Unkept Promise.

This book will hardly take a couple of hours of your time, but it will be time well spent and Manish Mahajan is surely an author to watch out for! Get your copy Now!

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The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

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