Book Review: Mortuary Tales by Kashif Mashaikh

Book Review: Mortuary Tales by Kashif Mashaikh

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Mortuary Tales is an extraordinary and gripping debut by the author Kashif Mashaikh. The book is a collection of nine short stories which are exceptionally intriguing and draws inspiration from the narrative patterns of Vikram-Betaal and the Arabian Nights.

The story revolves around Jeevanram and a young trainee who works under him in the night shift at the mortuary of the Grand Trunk Hospital in Mumbai. The young trainee, who has a degree in business management, has started working in the hospital under compulsion as he couldn’t find any other job. He is not very comfortable with the fact that he has to deal with dead bodies. On his first night at work, he threw up all over the floor at the sight of a dead body, as seeing death from a very close range is not something he is used to. Thus, Jeevanram, who is working in the mortuary for the past three decades, starts telling him stories that will not only help him to face his fears but will also give him courage.

These bone-chilling nine dark stories deal with the horrors of the human psyche, loneliness, guilt, loss, and emotional struggles of an individual. I loved the writing style of the author and how he has developed each story. These stories are horrific, and the ending of each story makes the reader contemplate. Some stories that I extremely loved reading are ‘The Old Woman’s Soul’, ‘Meeting Freddie’, and ‘The Lookalike’. However, one thing that I didn’t like about this book was the use of cuss words in some stories, especially in the story titled ‘The Escape of Haroon Hatela’. I felt these cuss words were not necessary, and they also disrupted my reading pace.

All in all, I would say that Mortuary Tales has impressed me, and I would like to read more books by Kashif Mashaikh. I woould rate the book four out of five. I am definitely recommending this book to all the readers out there!

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