Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Book Review: Nagin by Mayur Didolkar

Title: Nagin
Author: Mayur Didolkar
Publisher: Juggernaut

Mayur Didolkar’s Nagin is a collection of nine short stories, each dealing in supernatural beings. The stories do not conform to a particular time and place and this makes it all the more appealing. The age old concepts of vish kanyas, vidrupas, and ichhadhari nags and nagins all come together — both in urban and rural settings — to create a world that is different yet bearing similarity with the realities around us.

The blurb reads: “Loving wife, obedient daughter, loyal friend. But if you provoke her, she will raise her hood and spit venom.” It is a little misleading since it’s not just women who are protagonists in all nine of the stories. But there’s nothing to complain since the stories themselves fulfill the promise of being entertaining.

All nine stories are exquisitely crafted. Some of the stories hold a sense of hope and humanity in bleak situations. One will be left guessing while reading the stories since each is replete with unforeseeable twists and turns. Didolakar’s writing is simple and straight forward. However, some stories are more successful than others. ‘Ranbhool,’ ‘A Little Poison Doesn’t Hurt,’ and ‘Watching You’ are stories that will keep you guessing till the very end about what to expect.

The author emerges as a capable player in a game of shape-shifters, ruthless babas, malevolent masterminds, and sundry secrets in settings that wander between natural and supernatural worlds, alternate realities blending with elective affinities.

Quirky in presentation and good read throughout, Didolkar’s yarn pleases at every turn.

Mayur Didolkar has published two novels – The Dark Road and Tears for Strangers – and several short stories, all with Juggernaut. A crime and horror writer, the possibility of things going dreadfully, irrevocably wrong in ordinary situations inspires his work. Mayur is also a marathon runner and occasionally tries his hand at stand-up comedy. He lives in Pune where he runs an investment advisory firm.

I'd like to thank the publisher for letting me review the book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading! 

* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
** Picture courtesy: Amazon.in

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