Palm’s Foster Home for Peculiar Stories

Synopsis – Book-1 : 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.

Book-2: 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.

Book-3: Aliens, Porcupines and Dinosaurs

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

Review –  This is my first read from the ‘Fantasy’ genre. I have had my doubts and hesitations before picking this book because I am well aware, I am not into liking the zombies, the bloodshed caused by vampires (though I am huge fan of the Twilight series) and imagination taking a wild ride well beyond the realms of logic. But, there was something about the creative cover of the book that got me hooked.

The book has a beautiful cover, that attracts attention almost the minute you set your eyes on it. The fantastic depiction of the three short story compilations (titled as three books) on the cover, convinced me that I am in for lot of clever and creative indulgences ahead. I am glad the book didn’t prove me wrong.

If the title of the book didn’t make much sense to you ( like it didn’t for me initially) fret not, for I am here to decipher it for you in author’s own words. Palm’s is a collection of episodic short stories in the Fantasy genre, and it’s filled with an ensemble of outrageous characters.

The book has been divided into three books. The second and third book are themselves collections of short stories while the first book is a single story divided into short chapters.

The minute you start reading the book, you’ll note the funny edge to a crisp narrative that’s generously seasoned with twists and turns only a person with a wild imagination could muster courage to write. Though initially, I let logical thinking over-work to make some sense of the stories, but soon I realized that to enjoy this book, I need to go with the flow.

Undoubtedly, the books are a great escape from the mundane reality of life, but somehow the vivid imagination and lucid narration fails to mask the shortcomings of the plot. In the first plot, Nigel’s encounters with the special agents and particularly the climax is a huge let down after the fantastic run the story had, had.

I loved the brilliant way the author has plotted the second book revolving around the lives of farmers and their farms, delivering many smart lessons on the go. I wish to congratulate the author on coming up with something so interesting as a new religion ‘Cabbagism’ which proves to be the medium of highlighting the insensitivity humanity indulges in, in name of religion. However, this second book took too high a flight into the fantasy land that it failed to impress me on more counts than one.

” Lettuce pray”… Thou shallot abandon the Church of the Holy Vegetable, but must carrot for your fellow brothers so that you may live in peas. And remember, even when you’re radish with anger, do not give in to the wrath, because there is mushroom for darkness to enter your lives.”

The liberty to make the chicken fly, cows run computers, cabbages be considered the creators of the universe in ‘fantasy’ needs to be strung together at some point to make sense to a mere mortal (like yours truly). I struggled to concentrate on reading the second book in particular, making it an arduous read. Something similar happened in the third book too.

While I absolutely loved the story “Midori: Memoirs of a Porcupine” I was highly disappointed by the way “The Efiigy” was crafted. The issues there, unfortunately weren’t limited to the flight of fantasy, but the unkind portrayal of Shanti.

“You and I are not very different, shoes are mankind’s brothers. We get stepped on and walked all over, but still we do not protest. We do not bite back, but soon we tire, our bites placated over the years.”

The book suffered from the glitches in editing that left behind a plethora of spelling mistakes, which not only served as speed breakers but also made me re-read many parts to be sure of what I was reading.

This being my debut read in fantasy fiction, I might have failed to appreciate this book as much. But I am sure, this book is great to get a flavor of the genre owing to the vast variety of stories it holds together. The best part is the wacky sense of humor that helps to round off and balance the extremities quite well.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who would love to take a break from mundane life, is looking for a breezy read that’ll make you gawk at author’s vivid imagination and zany sense of humor.

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.

Rating – 3/5

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