Tag Archive | Paranormal

The Illicit Happiness of Other People- Manu Joseph :38/52

Dark. Deep. Depressing. Funny. Haunting. Sad. Scary.

A 60 watts yellow bulb, losing the fight to low voltage and weakly trying to light up a musty, mold smelling room on a wet November evening. That was where this book took me. To a dark place where something just sinks inside my insides, does a somersault and sinks a little more.

The same wickedness of Manu Joseph’s Serious Men is still going strong in this book, but the wickedness comes with a sense of melancholy here.  The tired economy is on the brink of throwing its doors open to foreign investors. It is three years since The Leader died and his mistress (ZOMG!), the humiliated Amma is on the rise. People are going on hunger strikes for someone else’s war.  And in a nondescript middle class colony in Madras where ‘all men are managers, all women are housewives and all bras are white’ lives the dysfunctional Chacko family. A mother who wags her finger and talks to the walls, a father who gets his obituary written every night and a twelve year old at the crossroads between child and man, fighting pettiness, losing his innocence. There’s Mythili Balasubramaniam, the girl next door, as good as a good girl should be. And Unni Chacko. Unni Chacko, our hero, who did what he did.

Ousep rediscovers his son through the eyes of his classmates, his friends, eccentric cartoonists, a nun who took the vow of silence, a psychiatrist, a physics teacher and finally his mother. Mariamma wants to understand why the father has suddenly embarked on this journey to rediscover his son. Thoma tries hard to usurp his elder brother’s place. And Mythili Balasubramaniam quietly locks him up in her fond and not-so-fond memories. Everyone is trying to understand why Unni Chacko did what he did.

I can’t review this book. It is a book that needs to be read and relished through your own eyes, own perspective. And once you’re done, draw your own conclusions. Or continue to wonder why Unni Chacko did what he did.

What I think ? Spoiler: I think Unni Chacko did what he did because he suddenly realised that he had become Philipose. And Philipose needed to be punished. By Unni. Again.

I sat through the night reading the book until my eyes protested. I woke up and read a few more pages with toothbrush in one hand and I drove to work at extra speed to open my laptop and continue reading. This book just had to be finished in one sitting. The pages turn themselves and make you crave for more. More Unni.

I’m a very simple person, questioning Life overwhelms me. So there was a lot that went *whoosh* over my head towards the end. Big word syndromes that I totally couldn’t relate to, but syndromes that do exist. Maybe exist closer to me than I want to believe.

If you want to walk into a big black cloud and float around in it for some time, read the book. You’ll stay dark, heavy and sad for some time. But you’ll get out of it. Because as Unni Chacko said, you just can’t escape happiness.

Thinner- Stephen King :28/52

A dieter’s dream? Nope.


You can take it two ways. Clean creepy horror or deep socialist message.

This fat rich whitemanfromtown lawyer is getting frisky with his wife in the car and runs over an ancient gypsy woman and kills her. The local policeman and the judge who sits on his case don’t take it seriously and let the killer lawyer off without any punishment. So justice is served, the Gypsy Way. Thinner, Scalier, Pimplier. While Scaly and Pimply surrender to their fate, Thinner goes on to fight it.

I swayed back and forth in my loyalties throughout the book. At one point I felt sorry for the poor fatman who keeps dropping pounds every day and is almost a skeleton by the time he reaches the gypsies to get the curse undone. But then when I read about how how badly the gypsies are treated, getting chased out of every town, getting their dogs killed, their cars exploded, I felt sorry for them. I wanted both sides to win.

Stephen King wrote this book as Richard Bachman, but you see his signature style all over the place.  But then his ego goes and describes Billy Halleck’s situation as ‘ a Stephen King novel’ .

This was not a nightmare inducing book. Just a creepy story that will make me think twice before brushing away the ‘lower classes’ next time.


Carrie- Stephen King : 19/52

Take a Mean Girls or a Vonnie and Monique or any high school story. Add a dash of darkness. Then add some more. And some more. Oh, empty the whole damn bottle of darkness into it. What do you get? A deliciously dark thriller that will keep you feeling deliciously dark.


I started hating dogs when I read Cujo. Dogs hate me back. My cat Sajni still haunts me in my nightmares  with that Pet Sematary effect . Her last days were really sad and smelly. Now Carrie will make me Flex each time I see someone I hate. (o o I hate so many people)

The horror unfolds through a series of interviews, book excerpts, research studies and news articles. A sad little high school girl, a misfit with a freakishly religious nutcase mother. A gang of rich snob bullies with one of them growing a conscience. Boys. Root beer. Good gym teachers. A prom. Sounds all pink and frilly, doesn’t it? But then there’s also the colour of blood. Lots and lots of blood, different types of blood. There’s some eerie telekinetics that rains stones, turns on sprinklers and blows up gas stations.  Black Bibles. A dark closet where you repent for your sins. There’s sin and the punishment for sin. And when you close the book, kind of shaken up and feeling something in the pit of your stomach, you look at the chair in front of you and Flex.

I got this book as a similar to recommendation when I finished Dark Places. Stephen King’s first book, one he almost abandoned. It is kind of funny that the book was written in 1974 and set in the then future of 1979, but you don’t feel any time gap when you read it. It could have been set in 2014 and been as freakishly eerie as it was. I’ve rediscovered Stephen King now picked up Salem’s Lot and The Shining . Like Joey, maybe I should keep the books in the freezer until I start reading them.