Book- Encounters “Someone’s always waiting”
Author- Sumana Khan
Genre- Fiction (Horror)
Publisher- CinnamonTeal Publishing
Have you ever encountered something strange in your life? Something which has left a deep mark? Or have damaged things beyond limits?
Five stories dealing with completely different aspects of life and experiences. The characters range from a retired fussy old man to a very strong headed woman. The stories work in flashback and also take you on a walk with them in the present time.
The title of the book starts making sense from the very first story. It was nice to see that the title is related to theme of the book and not just to something which is less substantial when talking wholly. The title was a perfect mirror image of the stories and its content.
The reflection of the scenery and the lonesome man on the boat, with dark details is raising the level of curiosity. The first two impressions are great. The hidden truth and the external details of the stories can be equated with the aura created by the elements shown on the cover.
Vast characters and very unique qualities each of them possess. Every person is bound in some chains or some happenings which make them look beyond the normality. Well, I was impressed with the number of people which came in front to express their expression towards something unexplainable.
The strong woman in the “First Love” or a normal girl from “Best Friends Forever”, a doctor from “BFF” or a doctor from “Happiness Clinic”, all the characters were shining bright at their places.
I have a lot of favourites to pick. From the major characters I loved, “Ratna”, “Vrka” and “DR. Shrinidhi”. And from the minor characters I adored “Andal” and “Alice”.
Every story was narrated perfectly and the plot moved smoothly. The author has done a great work to make the tale an easy grasp. The flashbacks came at many times but author managed things pretty well, avoiding any sort of confusion that might have occurred.
"Encounters" was a book which can be remembered for a longer span of time because it had elements which can make one go crazy. The stories were normal but the way the author presented them was extra-ordinary. At times the stories sounded heard but then there was another page in the end which lifted things beyond the normal posture.
Starting with the first story, “First Love”, the author has tried in all the stories to bring in front the people who were different, in one way or the other. This story was woven around a woman who was strong enough to break the strands which were suffocating her. The story was great mixture of suspense, feminism and darkness. The story was mixed up, in a good way of course. It was nice to witness so many changes within the scenes. They ranged from a normal household to wilderness, which was catchy enough to hold an individual’s attention.
Next in cue is “Reminiscences”. It was a short and sweet tale. But when you start with a story like “First love” which have created a sensation in your head then something below the line can’t work. The details mentioned in the story were precise and very normal which made the story very light and easy going.
The third tale is “The story-teller”; the base of the story was very impressive. It was unusual and prolific. The pastoral images which the author has penned are noteworthy. Flashbacks always work and it touched another height with this story.
“Happiness clinic” is the second last tale of the book. The best part of all the stories is the characters. In happiness clinic we see two protagonists, the man and the woman. They are poles apart from each other but still they try to move hand in hand. The difference in their personalities is expressed with brilliance. The lessons learnt are though heard but still they had that shine in them, to create an unforgettable effect on any reader.
And finally we have the story of two friends, “Best friends forever”. The story is the highlight of the book because it contains enough spooky images and advancement than any other story of the book. The story is a mixture of love, friendship, separation, hatred and envy. I was so moved when I read the closing pages that I had to stop for a while to inhale all that was happening. Such was the magic created by the author.
The stories weren’t horrifying, instead they were meaningful. The book can be read again and again and the author has made sure that every reader leaves with something in hand after completing the book. At least that happened to me. I have never seen so much variation in my reading experience ever.
I would really like to form an order according to my liking of the stories which are part of this collection:
1. Best Friends Forever
2. First Love
3. The Storyteller
4. Happiness Clinic
· “Was I just a pair of breasts and a womb to everyone?”
· “To have loved Radha, and to have been loved by her- yes, that has been the purpose of my life.”
· “This mental imprisonment is the greatest tragedy of our society.”
· “In her words you will find yours.”
The best part of the book lies in every part of the book. The narration, the characters, the topic, the handling of the plot everything was a big turn on for me. I haven’t read a short story collection like this in a very long time.
I was expecting more spooky stories and more elements of horror. I signed up for that only but nothing such happened. The stories were meaningful and fulfilling but were not horrifying.
A great book. Anybody can pick it up without any second thoughts. The book is a gem.
About the author-
Sumana khan was born and raised in Bangalore where she pursued a career as an IT consultant. She currently lives in the UK and is a full-time writer and student. She holds a Master of Letters in Creative Writing from University of Glasgow and is pursuing her M.Sc. in Psychology. Her first book was “The revenge of Kaivalya”
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