RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Midnight Adventure

Title: A Midnight Adventure and Other Stories
Author: Cecilia Thomas
Reviewer: Dennis D. Muhumuza

A Midnight Adventure and Other Stories is a collection of five short stories specifically written for teens but penned with such adroitness as would appeal to older readers as well considering I couldn’t put the book down after I had opened the first page.

Written by Cecilia Thomas, all the stories are set in India and written in a flawlessly suspenseful and humorous style that reminds of Nobel Laureate Sir V.S Naipaul. They cover familiar themes of beauty, intrigue and exploitation and generally tackle the battle between good and evil.

As with protagonists that drive great works of fiction, the central characters in these stories have foibles but in the end, evil is exposed; the virtuous become victorious and poetic justice is attained. Ironically, the title story is, in my opinion, superseded by the rest in terms of plot development. It captures teenage romance at its basic but is not the kind of story you will remember long after you have finished the book.

Gratefully, it is followed by The Gentle Terrorist, a story with an enviable end twist. It’s about a man who “kills” the brother of woman he’s in love with and unable to face the disgrace of being branded a murderer, let alone find the courage to tell her, runs away and becomes a rogue; recklessly fighting for money in the hope he could meet his death. His fierceness wins him the appellation “The Tiger” but time comes when he decides to return home. He returns with dire wounds but is nursed by a veiled woman, who in the end turns out to be Radha, his old flame! Also turns out that the officer at the police station who wants Ram Singh’s head dead or alive is none other than Narendra – the man he thought he had killed years ago.

The ingenuity of the Indians is best captured in Lost and Found, about a woman who makes dazzling Christmas lanterns but whose son’s disappearance has so troubled her and turned her into a “mad” woman. When the adventurous professor of English orders a dozen lanterns, he can hardly trust “Mad Mythri” to deliver the lamps as promised but he takes the chance and it pays off in a most moving manner when Mad Mythri finds that her long lost son is one of the homeless children picked by the benevolent professor from the streets of Calcutta.

The story The Yellow Beads is about a girl with independence of mind who defies her parents, turning down a marriage offer from a cunning rascal; while A Spunky Daughter is about an idealist who believes people are all good and susceptible to change and sets on the journey of proving his theory by changing criminals into respected members of society.

I bought this book as a Christmas treat from St Paul Book and Media Centre and it was worth every penny; it deserves prime space in your bookshelf as well.

--Sunday Monitor, January 3, 2010