‘The Other Side’ I am told had an amazingly successful day at Hans Raj College, Delhi where it was the official book partner of their annual college event, Vanjya Utsav.
The book was part of the corporate bidding, sales-pitch process, kind of an inter-collegiate contest between different teams from various colleges in a never before tried marketing initiative. It seems to have received a wonderful response by students across the NCR region attending the fest. — feeling happy.
Completed the first draft of the fourth book today. Will sign the agreement for the third this week. In the meanwhile, work starts on the fifth! — feeling wonderful.
“From the good, bad and ugly, the book has it all. It is a real spook-fest and guarantees a few ‘crescendo music’ moments especially if read in the night complete with BGM. But even in daylight, you can see the book is well written”- Blogger Dhivya Balaji.
Read the entire review here: http://readmuse.blogspot.in/2014/01/the-other-side-by-vivek-bannerjee-and.html
The Other Side is a collection of thirteen short stories. We received this as a part of Readers’ Cosmos Review Program. Complete with the obsession over number thirteen, a spooky cover and a really scintillating book back summary, the book has all the essential elements of a spooky novel. The book starts with a prelude. The setting is mountainside and the two authors start sharing their own personal ‘ghost’ stories and therein start a germ of an idea. They start writing about a few stories, each progressing in its supernatural element.
There are dead people haunting the place they lived as ghosts, paranormal sounds, and all the special effects. In one story, a honeymoon couple faces the worst experience of their life. There are tarot readers, spirit communicators, tantriks, and ghosts aplenty. In another story, a group of young men faces ghosts from the past. Yet another couple faces a mythical monster. There are adventure lovers who plan in detail only for the plan to go awry. Intervention from the paranormal forces compels the characters to lose their wits. There are your essential spirits who have died with unfulfilled desires, who try to live life again through the living.
From the good, bad and ugly, the book has it all. It is a real spook-fest and guarantees a few ‘crescendo music’ moments especially if read in the night complete with BGM. But even in daylight, you can see the book is well written. All stories are similar and different in their own respects. There are certain points that are common, and there are the chilling moments. But this is because, as a whole, the aim of the story is to spook you. The authors have maintained writing equally in first person and third person narratives. And there is a seamless motion between pages. And they have also not resorted to the usual spooky locations to write the stories.
There are ample native elements complete with vernacular words in the story. Though otherwise, the language is good and is also devoid of spelling and grammatical errors. The plot of each story and the characterisation is clean, relatable and does its job. The book overall is well written but does leave something to be desired for. Where the book becomes a bit lacking is the repetitiveness of horror. The content of thirteen stories, though as varied as can be, are unfortunately slightly repetitive and remind us of old stories that our grannies told us to stop us from venturing out at night.
This was one book that was hard to put down. Not only due to its interesting stories but also the natural curiosity of ‘what next’ that makes up the mind of every human and keeps feeding such supernatural occurrences. After all, the mind is the first storage place for such stories to manifest and it has the amazing power of drawing totally improbable threads to prove every story and memory are relatable. (Disclaimer: Not writing this because I am spooked. I have had my share of inexplicable experiences but nothing this horrendous. And my rational mind tells me there are explanations for every such event.)
WHAT I LIKED: The nice way the stories have been written, the prelude and the epilogue, language.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: One can only be as unique as our history and stories allow. Therefore there are unavoidable clichés in the stories.
VERDICT: Go for it if you like your spook adventure books. If such stories tend to stay with you, give this one a thought. It can be realistic enough if you are easily scared. BOO!
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
A paediatrician by profession, Vivek Banerjee is an author by accident. He lives in Saharanpur with his parents, obstetrician wife and two children. The pressures of his profession leave him with little leisure but he still finds time for his varied interests. An avid traveller, he has covered the length and breadth of the country in real life and the rest of the world in his imagination. A voracious reader, music lover, self-confessed geek and an amateur ornithologist, he would rather walk the road less travelled, given the time and opportunity. A Bengali by birth, he has grown up in various towns of North India and studied in many different schools and colleges. He started writing on Rediff blogs where he is known as Ben and went on to write his debut novel THE LONG ROAD.
He has also been published by Westland in ‘Chicken Soup for Indian Doctors Soul’, Grapevine India in ‘Shades of Love’ and APK Publishers in ‘Shades of Black’.
He won an all India short story competition for his story ‘The hunter’ which was published in ‘Kaleidoscope’ by Parlance publishers.
An anthology of stories about the paranormal, ‘The Other Side’, co-authored with Faraaz Kazi is a recent offering.
He is also a part of ‘Carnival’ by Litizen.com
The winner of the 2013 National Debut Youth Fiction Award and also the recipient of the YCOF National Excellence award in Creative Writing apart from being the first Indian author to win the coveted ‘Best Debut (Romance)’ title at the international Goodreads choice awards, Faraaz Kazi has been tagged as the ‘Nicholas Sparks of India’ by many and is rated amongst the top male romance writers in the country.
A certified soft-skills trainer and a three-time post grad, Kazi is the Founder and CEO of DigiImprint Solutions, India’s first exclusive promotional agency for authors and artists that recently forayed into handling corporate brands. He also consults for a few public relations firms and publishing houses. Felicitated by numerous institutes, bodies and organizations alike, Kazi is a well-known name in the social media and literary fraternity. He is fondly referred to as ‘The Young Marketer’ and operates a revolutionary blog with the same name and writes for major media houses.
Kazi is a fellow member of the esteemed ‘Film Writers Association of India.’ Truly Madly Deeply, his debut mainstream romance novel is the only Indian book to have seven category nominations in the Goodreads annual readers’ choice awards and is also the only Indian book in the ‘Top 100 YA Global Fiction’ list. Kazi is a voracious reader and counts singing as his second love.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback
PRICE: Rs. 150 for Paperback
Many Thanks To Purba Ray And Trisha Ray For The Permission To Publish Her Article Here!
“Don’t forget to have somebody willing to put up with your shivering mess afterwards on speed dial”- Blogger Purba Ray.
Book Review By Trisha Ray
Note: I want to start off with a warning. It’s not easy reviewing a collection of short stories. I have refrained from spoilers as much as possible, “as possible” being the operative phrase. In any case, I’ll type in the phrase SPOILERS AHEAD if I slip. Kudos)
Scary stories are my drug of choice. Nothing matches the thrill of a well-written tale of terror and then staying awake at night, trying to get your imagination under control. Your surroundings take on an air of strangeness. Every rustle becomes a whisper, every shadow a living (or not-so-living) being, every creak, every gurgle puts you on edge. Not many willingly put themselves through this. Few can make it through the night.
The Other Side by Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee promises its readers a “tour de force of unadulterated terror”. To which I say- Well no. If you want to be scared out of your wits, I would encourage you to direct your attention elsewhere. Kazi and Banerjee need a little more practice in this department. What they give you is a mixed bag in its truest sense. Each one tries to play on a different fear: the fear of death, losing someone, going insane, embarrassment and, of course, the unknown. Some are eerie, some accidentally hilarious (Mark of the Beast left me rolling on the floor but also mildly grossed-out by what the end implied), some blasé (Booo. And not in the ghostly sense either). Many were too similar to stories I had heard many, many times before (story number 11 Possession was *SPOILER AHEAD* pretty much an Indian version of The Conjuring) which kind of ruined any intended element of surprise.
What the two authors did however manage to do is impress me with some of the sheer creepiness. Dream Girl and Red Bangles are by far the stand-out little jewels of the lot because they are just incredibly disturbing. I am not even exaggerating. They probably pained me more because of the 800 steps back for feminism and women’s safety they represent. Anyhow, I digress. What I mean to say is that the fantastic bit about The Other Side is that every single reader will feel differently about it because everybody fears different things. Some are concrete- like snakes and bad grades. Some are more amorphous. So don’t take my word for it. If your interest is slightly piqued, buy, borrow or issue the book. Turn the lights down low, huddle up in your quilt and turn that first page.
P.S Don’t forget to have somebody willing to put up with your shivering mess afterwards on speed dial.
“For people looking for a mild horror induced reading session, this book would be apt.” is what TTP Book critic says about The Other Side by Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee.
The full review on http://thetalespensieve.com/2014/02/book-review-the-other-side/
I am the type of girl who would do her best to avoid horror stories/ movies unless my curiosity gets the better of my senses. My initial foray into this genre started with Goosebumps and similar R. L. Stein novels and somehow stopped there. I did delve on to some serious horror novels like The Shining and Carrie by Stephen King, but this genre never held a strong interest for me to venture further into this genre. So what made me pick this book?
After a taxing long list of IIT/IIM love stories and few mild adventure thriller authors, I was pleased to see someone write in this genre.
And after the early reviews it received on GoodReads and an article in The Hindu, I was curious enough to block off my mind that kept saying No. And yet again, I find myself regretting my choice in this genre. But unlike the other cases, where I was left scared because they were convincingly good, in this case I was simply let down by the disappointing plots.
This book is a collection of 13 stories of the paranormal. As far as the plots are concerned, they are not much different from the usual horror stories. A honeymoon gone wrong, a one night stand turns wild, a happy family turns forlorn after renting a haunted house, an expecting couple have a bizarre surprise, a psychotic youngster and his obsession and so on. Each plot is familiar, but what makes the stories different are the twists in the plot. While a few of them take you by surprise, the rest are the same old stories the Indian Horror genre viewers are accustomed to. Most of the stories are pretty straightforward with the usual expected twists making the book nothing but a nondescript read.
Not all stories are true horror but rather mystic or creepy that leaves you thinking even after they end.
Certain facts stay etched in your mind though like the fate of the men who have answered the calls of the name-calling demons or the child who keeps swinging under the Banyan tree!
Horror story writers need to go an extra mile when it comes to describing the fear invoking scenes and events because it is them that make a horror story a success. For that , the authors deserve a pat on their back for vividly portraying the scary sequences. They have a flair of frictionless writing, which looks promising. But their framing of the plot and ideas used seem tacky at certain points and makes you cringe at certain lines. I also found a few grammatical errors but given their narration, one doesn’t mind overlooking it. The breezy writing makes the book a quick read with just 320 pages.
For people looking for a mild horror induced reading session, this book would be apt.
However, I doubt if Horror fanatics would find this book interesting enough. Being one of the early entrants in the Indian Horror genre, the authors still have a long, long way to go to reach Stephen King like writing.
With a family that loves to read and an idea of fun time is a visit to Book fair or Book shop, it is only natural that you follow the same trait. Books have been VANATHI PARTHASARATHI‘s best friends since childhood and she is sure they will continue to be so. She is a Noida based statistician in an analytics firm. And when she comes back home after a long day at work, all she wants to do is pick up a book and settle down on her couch because nothing calms her more than a good book.