Tuesday, October 27, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: PALM'S FOSTER HOME FOR PECULIAR STORIES

C G Salamander's short story collection, Palm’s foster home for peculiar stories is a collection of stories which are peculiar in the right sense. The book is divided into three sections.




Some of the highlights of the book:
        1) Smart and innovative writing
     2) Stories in each section are interlinked and just when you feel that one has ended, the author manages to spring a surprise by connecting the threads in the next one.
         3) The stories are very peculiar and are a perfect example of out of box thinking.
        4) A majority of them entertain you and the fine blend of humor in unassuming situations is the USP of the book.
         5)  I feel not everybody will be able to connect with the stories and the book is not meant for everyone.
      6)  You cannot complete it in one sitting. Lot of focus and attention is demanded from the readers.

The first section talks about India during its early independence days.  Nigel: the Last Brit in India is a really funny story which makes you chuckle. It’s about a British Officer who is unaware of India having gained independence and tries to stamp his authority on poor villagers on the day of independence and then how he finds his lady love. It is a great start to this peculiar story collection.
The second story simply is the best in the entire collection. It’s about Queen Elizabeth’s visit to India in 1952. Our hero is in anticipation of the queen and prepares himself to receive her well. But when he sees the real queen, he is in for a rude shock. You need to read the story to find who this Queen is and what is her Nigerian connection, wonderfully crafted piece this one. One liners like “God Shave the Queen” will leave you wanting for more.
 An ODE to AGNI is a poem and wonderfully penned. I wish I could write such simple yet meaningful poetry someday. The way it rhymes and conveys the meaning will win your heart. A woman described in a few lines through an entertaining poem is something worth appreciable.
From Madras, With Love is a story weaved around secret service agents who are alleged to have contracted some strage disease. Even here the author introduces a lot of funny punch lines and chuckling moments. How Nigel turns out to be a hero and the revelation about the queen from the second story could be read here. Now you could say, this is only section dedicated to humans purely.

Part 2 of the book: Gayatri and the church of holy vegetable
This section deals with Zombies, a Bowl of Soup coming alive, a strange religion known as Cabbagism and the church of holy vegetables. Can you guess who is named as Mary Beth? What happened to the church and how it met its end?  Then there is a story on Vampiyers. You find a whole lot of gods and prophets coming alive in the next two stories and what mayhem the zombies spread on the streets and how they escape to Calcutta. Cabbagists, Zombies and Humans all are fighting for cause. And you will love the Mayhem.

Part 3: aliens, dinosaurs and porcupines
For the first time in my life, I have read a story on porcupines and their love life. It was like watching an animal planet documentary show. The take on politicians and people living in slums was noteworthy. The story about introduction is difficult to understand. Then there is a list, how to stalk someone at beach, beachgoers might love this one. In conversation starters, the author takes creativity to an all new level. Is it a highly paid job? Is it a different species all together?

This is the best way I could summarize my reading. You if are interested in something peculiar then you must pick this book endorsed by the Great Ruskin Bond.

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