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May 31, 2013

Quick Notes on 'AFTERLIFE - Ghost Stories From Goa'

Author : Jessica Faleiro
Publisher : Rupa Co.

Rating : 3/5

The Fonsecas are your friendly neighbourhood Goan family. There’s Savio with his salt and pepper hair, and a propensity for eating chicken cafreal with a fork. His wife, Lillian, worries about feeding guests and finding a boy for her unmarried daughter. Their daughters Carol and Joanna are both settled abroad. The Foncesca family- father Savio, mother Lillian and daughters Carol and Joanna have gathered in Goa to celebrate Savio's 75th birthday.

The night before the big party, the family has a visit from Savio's cousin brother Eduardo and his wife Maria and kids Susheela and Jason come and as the rain pours outside and the power goes out . the Foncescas start telling ghost stories- about things that they've experienced or the extended family members have experienced. There are stories of naughty ghosts, exorcism and haunted palaces.

The narrative has distinct Goan flavour to it and even though these stories can happen in any part of the world, they explore the genre by keeping Catholic religion and fanaticism as background in all of them. Each of the story by a family member forms a new chapter. There are usual horror genre stories here - exorcism of a young boy infected with an old man's spirit or a girl who dares to spend a night in a haunted library and end up doing the 'unnatural' stuff. At the same time, there are stories explored with a twist - An uncle who prefers sending messages from the grave or a relative who all believe has been reincarnated as a bird or my personal favourite - a 'good ghost' who loves children.

I particularly liked the way Goa has been used in setting up of stories - right from furniture to flower vases to the ballroom dances and ivory curtains. Most of the stories are not horror inducing but gradually grow into thrilling stories about the experience of paranormal. And there lies in the victory of the book which is finding the uncommon in the common, the occurrence of horror in our everyday life. Read it if you are a fan of horror genre. You won't be disappointed.

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