For someone who has a mother who is so very dear to me, and who is also my best friend, this slim volume of poetry was a difficult read. I can't imagiFor someone who has a mother who is so very dear to me, and who is also my best friend, this slim volume of poetry was a difficult read. I can't imagine suddenly hearing that my mother had fallen critically ill and not being able to get to her in time. It is unfathomable.
Sweta Vikram has beautifully expressed her time as she rushed to get to her mother before she passed, and the unfortunate time after her passing. She poignantly gives glimpses of what her mother meant to her. Each poem gives us insight into how she is coping with, and working through, her grief.
As you can probably imagine, I had tears in my eyes while reading these poems. There were a couple that really hit home.
Why Didn't You Wait For Me?
Such un-clarity on such a bright day, such darkness in my verses.
I ask for a sign; something, anything.
Can you hear me?
Did you know I needed to give you a hug, cook some Persian Kalam Pulao when I saw you next?
A detour in your journey, did you know fate? Before leaving for Kashmir did you gather memories for me?
Why didn't you wait for me? I ask the same question, over and over again, Ma.
I ask for a sign; something, anything. Can you hear me?
I wonder, as I stare at your body wrapped in blue in the morgue. You look peaceful. But I want to hear your hot, teasing words:
Chota kapdaa pehnee phir se?
I ask for a sign; something, anything. I weep silently, thanking the thunder for expressing my pain through the noise.
Why didn't you wait for me, Ma?
Time Changes Us
I hear you hum, "Time changes us all." You always complained that I didn't write about you, Ma. In thirty-six hours, I bled a book of poems about you.
Writing is what helps me keep you alive. Writing is what tells me don't lose faith.
I stand inside the sound of my words, like a stranger lost in a dark forest. I hear you hum, "Time changes us all."
Vikram shares this cathartic experience with us and it is very powerful. It also shows us that losing someone changes us forever and we must move on, incorporating this change into our new life. I leave you with this quote from the beginning of the book which I will remember well in years to come. I find comfort in it.
"The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to." ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)...more
This book...wow! It's an amalgamation of a horror novel, historical fiction and an end-of-the-world tale. I loved it!
This line in the book's descriptiThis book...wow! It's an amalgamation of a horror novel, historical fiction and an end-of-the-world tale. I loved it!
This line in the book's description..."We are all made of stars." Turns out, the Incas were the keepers of this arcane knowledge and when an important ritual fails in their time, we are taken through a timeline of places and people seeking the truth, all planning to use the knowledge for their own ends.
At first, I didn't quite know what to think, but as the book progressed from the Inca Empire through an 18th century shipwreck, on to the American Civil War to Jack the Ripper's England and finally from the Bahamas in the 80s to present day England, I was taken on an incredible journey of historical and pop culture references with a good amount of gore thrown in. Believe me, if you're not fond of gore, you won't want to read this. Yet, it's necessary to tell the story. It really is.
Much more than just a mere horror novel, Hexagram also tells a story with a message. As I'm writing this, and thinking about what I read, I am reminded of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (which I loved as well). This quote near the end of the book really struck a chord with me:
"Look what we do as people. We've spent our entire time killing each other and everything else on this planet. We invented religion so that people can kill other people who believe in something different, or to offer some hint of better things when you've gone through your entire life serving those with power. It's bullshit. We're supposed to evolve as a species, yet it feels like all we do is go backwards. We find new and inventive ways of killing each other and ruining the planet..."
So true...and so apropos to the current state of our world.
So, as I said, so much more than just a horror novel, this one really makes you think. I like books that make me think, and books that present, and pull off, an original idea. This is that book and it's very much a must-read.
(I received an eBook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)...more
Kristin Dearborn is a talented author. I read her Woman in White earlier this year and was impressed. Now Stolen Away...I'm floored!
Stolen Away is notKristin Dearborn is a talented author. I read her Woman in White earlier this year and was impressed. Now Stolen Away...I'm floored!
Stolen Away is not just a horror novel about demons. No. It's much more than that. There are many more horrors present in this book that every day people deal with. Drug addiction, crushing feelings of worthlessness, family judgment, heartache and loss. It's all here. And Dearborn doesn't hold back. She tells it all viscerally and honestly...all the dirt and grime and shame right out there in the open. It's honest and real. It lets you know that, yes, demons are scary, but sometimes real life can be even scarier.
The demons and demon world were incredible. The concept of them and their existence was very plausible. I know I say this often because of my love for horror films, but I really think this one would make a great movie.
This book is so well-written, I couldn't stop reading. If you're looking for a page turner with a great story and characters, this is the book for you. Highly recommended.
(I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)...more
Okay, Eli Roth, James Wan, Rob Zombie, or perhaps Guillermo Del Toro, you need to read this book and make it into a movie. Because it already reads liOkay, Eli Roth, James Wan, Rob Zombie, or perhaps Guillermo Del Toro, you need to read this book and make it into a movie. Because it already reads like a movie. A really good scary, gory movie. (I think Eli Roth would be good fit for this one, but that's just my opinion).
I have always been fascinated by the Mayans. I long to visit Chichen Itza and the other Mayan archaeological ruin sites. Mel Gibson's Apocalypto is one of my favorite films. Many people are interested in the fact that the Mayans practiced human sacrifice. Yes, that is interesting...and horrifying. However, I find the fact of their vast knowledge to be far more interesting. The creation of their hieroglyphic script, the only known fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well their art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system, is what I find truly amazing.
The authors, known as The Sisters of Slaughter, have created a unique premise here with one of their characters, a professor and archaeologist, having a theory that some of the Mayan's scattered and found refuge in the mountain regions of the state of Georgia. I find this an interesting and even plausible theory. The Mayan's were so advanced...why couldn't some of them have broke away and migrated elsewhere?
The professor decides to explore his theory, along with his research assistant and a group of college students, traveling to the Blood Mountain area of Georgia. As you can probably imagine, it all goes down hill from there. I keep telling these archaeologists in movies/books...don't move or remove things, damn it. They don't listen. (and that's as spoilery as I'm going to get).
As I mentioned at the beginning, reading this is like watching a good horror movie. Edge of seat, nail biting terror at what is steadily revealed as the story progresses. Forget zombies. These entities (to use a nice word that doesn't even begin to describe them) are grotesque almost beyond description. Also, I love owls, but after this book,..I may have to think on that more. Oh, and don't forget the gore. This is a journey into Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. What can be expected but blood, gore and endless suffering in the world of Ah Puch, the god of death.
All I can say is that Mayan Blue is the BOMB. I was thrilled through every minute of reading it and I read it very fast...and I'm not a fast reader. I can't wait to read more from The Sisters of Slaughter.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)...more