The genre of horror is one that I love to read and sometimes attempt to write. For a story in the genre to be successful, I feel it has to have the capacity to make the reader imagine it, and feel the chill through their bones. It’s not just a sense of the paranormal, or a story with ghosts and other scary creatures in it that makes a story a horror story. That would be just a story with horror elements. I remember RL Stine and Goosebumps when I think of the genre. But this book was a different kind altogether, because it had thirteen (yes, interesting number isn’t it?) short stories in it.
The Other Side is a book that caught my attention because it was from two authors whose stories I had read before and enjoyed. The first thing I liked about the book was the cover design. It was really suited to the genre, and I liked the idea of bringing the cover to life.
I think overall, the story is a mixed bag of mostly good stories and some average ones. I honestly do not feel any story is terrible in this collection, and that’s something positive. Stories like “The Long Weekend” and “The Lady in the Pub” make for wonderful reading. The former especially comes to mind because of a wonderful double-twist that is present in it. I think that’s another thing the authors have managed to do well. When there is a twist in the story at the end, it’s unexpected and something that falls in line with the plot before. The narration is simple, and mostly evocative, imaginative. “The Muse Comes Calling” is a story that I felt was scary for any author, but the ending was a buzzkill to be very frank. I expected something better. The other stories that didn’t quite appeal to me was “That Fateful Night” and “The Man Who Did Not Fear”, for similar reasons.
I wouldn’t call this book very horrifying, but it does leave a mark on you after you are done with the read. Very nicely written, and some of the stories do have the capacity to bring that chill that I talked about earlier. The things that don’t quite work are some of the stories’ endings. And the illustrations inside. I felt a lot of similarity between some illustrations, which didn’t quite work for me. I think it’s best to read this at night. Maybe if you have a night’s train journey and you’re not very sleepy, this might be a nice company, worth the price. Though if you’re a highly reactive person, I’d be careful not to jump up with a scream if a co-passenger tries to break your concentration!
In A Gist:
Positives: Engaging narration, interesting twists, stories that let you imagine them happening
Negatives: Some stories had a dull ending; illustrations look similar.
About the author:
Faraaz Kazi is an Indian author, who has won many awards for his debut fiction including the 2013 National Debut Youth Fiction Award and the YCOF National Excellence award in Creative Writing. A pediatrician by profession, Vivek Banerjee calls himself as an author by accident. 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. He has been published in many anthologies.
Title: The Other Side
Author: Faraaz Kazi, Vivek Banerjee
Genre: Short Stories / Horror
Publisher: Mahaveer Publishers
Price: INR. 150
(31st January, 2014)