Book Title: Mortuary Tales
Author: Kashif Mashaikh
About the Author:
Kashif Mashaikh graduated from the University of Mumbai with a degree in computer science and worked for a start-up in Mumbai. This city is often romanticized in his literary work. He has worked closely with author S. Hussain Zaidi on several prestigious writing projects at Blue Salt Media. Mortuary Tales is his debut novel.
It was a bright Tuesday. As I was browsing through the Instagram page of the Westland Publishers, I happened to see a post that intrigued me extensively. The post had a book cover named ‘Mortuary Tales‘. Without a thought, I bought the Kindle version and finished reading the book in maybe 3 hours.
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As soon as I acquired it, I read the book Author Kashif’s close association with Author S.Hussain Zaidi. I am a big fan of Hussain’s writing, and his insight on Mumbai Underworld is fascinating. Thus, I ended up reading this book by Kashif.
The book, Mortuary Tales is a collection of nine stories that emerged from love, pain, guilt, remorse, and introspection. This book can also be coined as a novel that makes understand readers what death is! A strict trigger warning to the readers who are not comfortable reading gore and life-threatening writings.
A mortician, Jeevanram, narrates the stories. Naming the central character who narrates these nine stories as JeevanRam, where Jeevan lives in the Indian language, showcases the Author’s brilliance. This being his debut novel is an excellent surprise because his writing felt like a conditioned author in many places.
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The story, as said, is about a mortician Jeevanram, who has worked in the Mumbai Hospital’s mortuary in night shifts. Every story is a backdrop story in itself. Not every story reflects real death, but stories delve into the inner human psyche and bring out the dark secrets. As Jeevanram narrates these stories, his apprentice is afraid to ace the fears and is uncomfortable dealing with death and illness despite working at a hospital.
We as children are already since childhood are made to condition our minds in understanding the concepts of death and life from the stories of Vikram – Betaal series or Arabian Nights.
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Drawing parallels from these, these nine stories talk about ghosts, inner-fears as death threats, etc. makes the book an exciting read. The author has dealt with many aspects of suicide, fear, sin, wrongdoing, etc., that eventually lead to the death of human traits.
Also, some stories give a riveting reply to the sinners, satisfying the reader’s ego. While other stories also leave the readers with lots of melancholy and sadness. As said above, weak-minded readers or readers who love reading light-hearted books must stay away from this book. The intrinsic detailing of specific characteristics in few stories is quite uncomfortable.
In one of the stories, an upcoming actress resorts to killing herself, an older adult dealing with mental illness acts on the reader’s psyche in a threatening manner. Therefore, a strict trigger warning to the readers who pick up this book is that they get ready with a solid and practical mindset and then only read this book.
Author Kashif Mashaikh has done a great job in his debut novel with simple yet effective language and grammar and proved that crime & horror genre stories could be derived from everyday lives. Apart from the trigger warning, this book is an excellent read to readers who love reading extremely captivating thrillers.
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