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Book Review: Palm’s foster home for peculiar stories by C G Salamander

 

Palm's foster home for peculiar stories
Title: Palm’s foster home for peculiar stories
Author: C G Salamander
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Jellyfish Publications (April 2nd 2015)
Genre: Fiction, Short-stories
Read: Paperback
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Amazon India | FlipKart

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

NIGEL THE LAST BRIT IN INDIA

There is chaos and pandemonium in the streets of Madras, and it is up to Nigel (an officer of the Imperial Police) to restore order to the city… only he hasn’t quite learned about India’s Independence. Yet.

GAYATRI AND THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY VEGETABLES

When the newest and most successful religion (Cabbagism) threatens to bring about the destruction of the world, it is up to a melancholic zombie and a collection of rowdy farm animals to save the earth.

ALIENS, DINOSAURS, PORCUPINES

A porcupine, after setting out on a journey away from home, falls in love with an armadillo.

 

My Review:

Note: Thanks C G Salamander for offering me this book to read and review :)

Cover: Fascinatingly Peculiar

Paper and font: Ebony on Ivory with a lovely smell!

Readability, language: Relatively easy but with definite presence of big words

Why did I choose this book: After reading the blurb, I just couldn’t say no, my curiosity got the better of me!

A collection of short stories in three parts with some stories tying in with others to make a grander plot. These are stories about Nigel, the Brit who has forgotten that the British left, a chicken who teams up with zombies to fight Cabbagism and the love story of a porcupine and an armadillo. Any more would give the stories away.:)

The title ‘Palm’s foster home for peculiar stories’ I realised as I read the book was bang on, for these are peculiar stories indeed! The cover immediately caught my eye (it played a big role in my saying yes), I like the colours used and texture of the cover adds to the experience. The blurb is short but captivating.

Palm's foster home for peculiar storiesDo you see the texture?

The book is split into three parts with part 1 and 2 having a plot to the collection of stories. Part 3 felt like just a collection of stories with no common thread. The plots are unique and mind-boggling, and I was left mind-fucked (for want of a better word) at the end of each part. Salamander’s imagination is something else.

Palm’s foster home for peculiar stories

Part 1 is set in Madras, a little after Independence and Part 2 culminates at Eden Garden’s Kolkata. Salamander uses his backdrops well and they help the story along and add to it. The end of part 2 felt like I was there at Eden Garden’s.

The collection has a plethora of characters, all fantastical and fascinating. Sometimes the characters appeared in such quick succession that I’d get a bit confused and but by the end of each collection I kind figured them out. Salamander does’t forget or lose any or his characters, they all get accounted for.

Palm’s foster home for peculiar stories

The story structure in part 1 and 2 are complex, like a little jigsaw, only this one is in 3D and it is only at the end that it all comes into focus. I took really long to read this book, one reason was life but the other was the complexity. I had to go back quite a few times to pick up threads I lost. Maybe reading the book in one sitting would have helped, maybe.

Palm’s foster home for peculiar stories

Salamander through the book moves between persons in speech. The author has a good hold over english language and makes you have to reach out for a dictionary quite a few times. I missed my Kindle Dictionary feature so much as I read this book. But that said he also spins words and puns well to create images you see as you read. I enjoyed his writing style, more so because there was a definite Terry Pratchett feel to his writing.

Palm’s foster home for peculiar stories

A good book if you are looking for ‘mindful reading’, this isn’t a ‘leave your brains at home’ book. A enjoyed the first two parts, (my favourite being Nigel the Last Brit) and recommend you give this book a read!

Buy On: Amazon India | FlipKart

About the Author:

 
C. G. Salamander is a fiction writer and a story teller, his short stories and comics have been published in various short story anthologies and journals. Palms Foster Home for Peculiar Stories is his first book.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

 

Q & A with C. G. Salamander

After reading your book I understand the peculiar stories bit of your title and your love for puns. But why did you choose ‘Palm’s’ foster home? I missed that. 😀

C. G. S: The meaning behind ‘Palm’s Foster Home’ is double fold: when I was small I used to scribble down stories on my hand during class, and I ended up loosing a lot of my characters this way (the ink would disappear by the time I got home). So I guess I imagined my palm as a sort of asylum where all my stories continue to live. The second reason is because of this show called ‘Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends’ that used to play on Cartoon Network — this was a show that really resonated with me, and naming my book ‘Palm’s Foster Home for Peculiar Stories’ just felt right. But you’re right though, there’s nothing in then book to hint this out.

In part 1 and 2 there is a thread running through the stories. They all connect. I couldn’t find any connect in part 3. Did I miss something?

C. G. S: You’re right once again, Part 1 and 2 have an overall arc, while part 3 is actually a collection of standalone stories. You didn’t miss anything.

What inspired these stories? How long have you been creating this collection? Which authors inspired you?

C. G. S: To be completely frank, I’m not entirely sure what inspired these stories. It took me about 4 to 6 months to write all the stories in this collection, and about 2 mounts to tweak and fiddle with them. As for the authors that inspired me, well the list is endless, but the ones that deserve special mentions are Margaret Atwood who taught me how to wrap things up neatly; Salman Rushdie for introducing me to colloquialisms and Indainspeak, and of course Terry Pratchett who taught me everything else.

Which is your favourite story/character in the book? Which story did you enjoy writing the most?

C. G. S: My favourite story is ‘The Fertile Octogenarian’ (which incidentally most people aren’t too fond of.)
My favourite characters are Gayatri, Mary Beth, and the Disciple Bob — if I had to pick one, I’d say Mary Beth (Gayatri being a close second).
And the story that I enjoyed writing the most is definitely ‘Nigel the Last Brit in India’. I enjoyed myself far too much with that story.

Would you tell us a little about your last name – Salamander? What does C G stand for? Why did you choose it? Maybe a little something no one yet knows about you?

C. G. S: The reason I chose C G Salamander as my pen name is because the Latin or scientific name for a Chinese Giant Salamander (that’s what the C G Stands for) is Andrias Davidianus, which is extremely close to my real name (50 points if you guess it; hint: it’s not Rumpelstiltskin).

Something that no one knows about me? Hmmm… I’m actually super into writing bad poetry.

My neighbour’s curtains are brownish yellow
He really is a gruesome fellow,
He uses them to wipe his mouth
His neck, his stomach, and parts down south.

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