Book Review: Khel- The Writings by Vishal Goswami

Title: Khel- The Writings
Author: Vishal Goswami
Publisher: Frog Books
Pages: 146
Genre: Horror
Price: Rs. 145

The book arrived a week before Diwali and with my packed schedule at work, I decided to read it during my local train journeys to and from work because that was the only free time I could find.

The Story:

Khel- The Writings starts of as the story of a haunted house in a desolate location where a group of friends are found dead. An investigative journalist who is suffering from a loss in the family is assigned to the open-and-shut case. As expected there is a lot more happening than is visible to the eye and our protagonist is pulled into a horrifying mess that she must try and get out of for her and her family’s safety. You want to know what’s next, how is she going to tackle the ever increasing fear building inside her, what new mystery is going to unfold in the next chapter and will she live to report the story.

With an old story of a Nawab, a witch, a burned girl, and a deck of cards playing all the supernatural games, Khel is a clichéd thriller that keeps you hooked till the end.

The Style:

I am not a huge fan of the horror genre. Apart from a few movies and Indian tv serials, I never ventured into the territory. So when I came upon this book, I was intrigued to read horror for the first time. After reading it, I was disappointed.

The plot elements seemed too obvious at times. We have always seen ghosts as a figure clad in white and long hair. There wasn’t anything different about Khel. I think this obvious-ness somehow works for the genre and the story as well. We wouldn’t usually accept ghosts in any other forms, would we? It’s the clichéd, but the most accepted and fun format.

The last chapter seemed forceful and a ‘just do it and end it’ kind of an escape to end the story. It was like you have created so many loose ends and have no clue how to tie them up together in a justifiable way and so you take the easy way out. That’s what usually happens in Indian shows as well. Sadly it doesn’t satisfy the reader in this case.

Supernatural happenings and haunted stories usually aren’t understood well even by people who claim they have experienced something of the sort- if this is to be adhered to, the ending probably stands justified. But as a reader of fiction who has laboured through 140 pages of text, a logical or at least a well reasoned ending, ought to be there.

One of the things I hate about reading a book is finding grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Khel has a huge number of wrong usage of names- Sudden appearance of a character called Raj in the first two chapters when he isn’t one of the 4 characters we have been introduced to. Later on in the story there is another character called Raj as well. Sanya becomes Sarah for half a chapter. There were a few grammatical errors and repetition of words in sentences here and there too. The story is badly edited and it was irritating to identify the obvious mistakes.

Overall the book has a fast paced narrative and is a quick read. 

My Rating: 2.5/5

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