Book: The Other Side…..Dare to visit alone?
Authors: Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee
Publisher: Mahaveer Publishers
Price: Rs 150 (excluding discounts)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Review: ‘The Other Side….Dare to visit alone’ is an anthology of 13 short stories belonging to the horror genre. Penned by Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee, this is an extremely engaging book presented in a delightful style and with stories which will not disappoint you.
To begin with, it has one of the most interesting preludes you will ever come across. To find out more, better pick up the book.
Moving on, here is a crisp review of each of the 13 stories. These are borrowed from the little notes I scribbled as I finished them one by one:
Story 1: That Fateful Night
Arresting narration, brilliant use of language, but the end, despite being absorbing, is predictable. ‘That fateful night’ is the story of a doctor and his fateful visit to a fateful old couple on a fateful night in a fatefully dilapidated ‘haveli’ under fateful circumstances and with some inexplicably fateful consequences to it.
Story 2: The Long Weekend
‘The long weekend’ tells the story of Sachin, Shikha and a vacation they took immediately after a séance attended by Shikha at her neighborhood.
The first half of the story is intensely gripping, what with the game of planchette offering some genuine ‘goosebump’ moments. The intensity wanes a bit in the second half, though the story-telling is absorbing throughout the 20-odd pages down to its surprising, though a tad dissonant, ending.
Story 3: The Man who did not fear
‘The man who did not fear’ started with a lot of promise but fizzled out soon. The story is not gripping and the lethargic pace makes it a laborious read. Writing seems so amateurish at places that one may be tempted to think that this story has been written by someone other than the author of the previous two tales.
The setting and the plot are unoriginal, but the major disappointment is the unconvincing and, often, enforced behavior of the main protagonist Nirbhay who spends a night in an abandoned mansion after a wager with his friends.
Story 4: Strangers in the Night
Good, gripping, romantic, erotic, titillating and scary. The anti-climax is interesting but a shrewd reader will see it coming.
Story 5: The muse comes calling
Fresh and ingenious plot. How would you feel if you are a writer and your characters come alive one day to do to you what you did to them?
Story 6: The Lady in the Pub
An okay-ish story with a trite plot and decent narration. The twist in the end is a winner though.
Story 7: A mother’s love
Though the plot seems heavily inspired from the usual horror TV shows, the story is, nevertheless, very arresting and keeps you turning the pages till the end suddenly arrives and interrupts your reveries.
Story 8: Red Bangles
Told from the perspective of a psycho lover, ‘Red Bangles’ is romance, fear and sex in their most unadulterated and maniacal form. Ever heard of a man making love with a corpse? Plus, an Edgar Allan Poe-esque narration adds to the spook and mystery.
Story 9: The Mark of the Beast
Quite a nice little story with a fresh plot. The story revolves around a couple Sanath and Shalini who discover about the curse of an abominable beast during their honeymoon.
Story 10: The Mystery Lake
Why does Ravi keep dreaming of a mysterious lake? What does he find when he reaches that place? To find out, read this plot-centric story which could have garnered a 3.5 or even a 4 had it ended on a better note.
Story 11: Possession
‘Possession’ seems right out of one of those horror soaps they keep showing on TV. A haunted house, a new family moves in, the children can talk with the ghost, possession, exorcism and so on.
Yet, despite the lack of freshness, the story is extremely gripping. I would have given it a 3 but with the little brilliance in the climax, the author won me over to his side…to ‘the other side’
Story 12: Unfulfilled desires
It is a mystery-cum-horror story where a doctor is visited by paranormal presence. The spirit of a dead woman seeks help from Dr. Rajiv Gupta who suddenly finds himself amidst an unsolved suicide mystery.
The story builds up nicely but ends rather on an ordinary note.
Story 13: Dream Girl
Freaky, disturbing, one of the best psycho-horror stories I have ever read. A perverted man chops off body parts of the women he fancies and creates his own marvel woman. Easily the darkest story of the book!
Epilogue: The short horror story set at Bhangarh Fort sums up the epilogue and brings the book to an apt conclusion.
Final words: Overall, ‘The Other Side…Dare to visit alone’ is a good book and makes for a satisfying read for horror lovers. While some stories disappoint, the majority are spooky and freakish.
And as you read this review, I can see somebody standing behind your back, breathing down your neck, reading alongside you…..Dare to turn around? *evil laughter*
~Ritesh AgarwalEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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PS- I am grateful to my Readaddicts friends (I hope I can call them that) Sarika and Janhvi for sending this book over to my place for an honest review.