Saturday, November 5, 2016

Book Review: Wreath And Other Stories by Sangeeta Mahapatra

Title: Wreath and Other Stories
Author: Sangeeta Mahapatra
Publisher: Notion Press


Sangeeta Mahapatra’s ‘Wreath and Other Stories’ is a catalogue of suspense and horror. The ten different stories, all aimed to please and tease a lover of the genre, holds quite a bit of promise. There’s more than momentary interest in this collection. Writing horror stories can be challenging. Those who handle these materials with any style are in the minority. Sangeeta’s writing, if not above, is at par with that league.

This elegant anthology offers ten pleasurably macabre surprises — some familiar while others not so. The book is less about the monsters we can see and more about those we can’t. In the writer’s own words, “These stories prod at our private fears, bring them out of the closet, and show the fallout of this fear.” This is an apt way of describing the book and I couldn’t have done justice to this review had I not quoted her.

Sangeeta spins an authentic nightmare about a promise not kept and its repercussions in ‘Red Moon.’ Whereas there’s a sense of doom in ‘Captive,’ ‘Wreath,’ and ‘The Wait,’ emotions like love, hate, obsession, and paranoia play the upper hand in ‘Malevolent,’ ‘Fey,’ ‘Tick Tock,’ and ‘Déjà vu.’ While these stories evoke a sense of gloom and forebodingness, ‘Artistic Spirit’ and ‘Snapshot’ are comparatively lighter in tone.  

Usually in horror story collections, there’s no shortage of gore for splatterpunk fans, but the truth remains that the most effective stories are also among the most understated. Clearly, Sangeeta understands this. No wonder there aren’t any guts and blood oozing, half devoured victims in this book. What we have is subtlety. This is what puts her collection apart. It’s astute and entertaining.

About the Author:

Sangeeta Mahapatra is the executive editor of a national business magazine. She has a doctoral degree in International Relations and has previously worked as a research fellow, specializing in Terrorism Studies. She is currently based in Kolkata, India, working on a book on the counter-terrorism strategies of India, Israel, and the United States of America. In 1999, her first book of short stories, Miasma, was published by Chowringhee Prakashini Press, Kolkata. Wreath and Other Stories is her second collection of short stories.

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I'd like to thank the author 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! 

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