My rating: 5 of 5 stars
With this collection published by Dunhams Manor Press in 2013, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy has become one of my favorite writers not only of weird fiction but any fiction attempting to portray both the physical and spiritual adventure of existence.
Recently an acquaintance remarked that he'd read this slender volume of extraordinary tales in an afternoon. I don't know how he accomplished this. Every story in the book is so rich in detail and so layered with fascinating social history and acute observations, I needed a break after each one in order to step back and look more objectively at what I can only describe as an immersive reading experience.
Delicate interactions between cultures and generations characterize these stories. All the lives lived in the same spot carry equal weight. History is ongoing. Our activity and unanswered desires create an energy, and perhaps a portal. The latter idea is put forth explicitly in the final tale, almost but not quite too complete an explanation. Fortunately the author only touches upon it and then returns to a sense of the mysteriousness of the universe and human nature.
Some characters are transformed or transported by interactions with the supernatural. Others cling to a fantasy or a state of mind and become absorbed into the landscape. The magic involved is not conjured or sought out. It arises naturally from the juxtaposition of time, place, and people.
Traces of the past linger everywhere. Ghosts of characters from certain stories pass through other stories and add to the density of the background. The illusion created by such overlapping is a steadily accruing sense of the enormity and complexity of life and the ceaseless activity of humankind.
Myths rooted in specific places and histories connect with more widely recognized myths and legends but also convey the fortunes and personal disasters of individuals and families. To know the full story is to know how a local family made its way in a constantly shifting world.
I bought this wonderful book and I'll buy anything else Jayaprakash Satyamurthy writes. Highly recommended.
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