Maps of Bliss and Rage by Mario Dhingsa
Published May 15th 2019
Genre: Fiction / Anthology
Stars: ★★★★☆ (3.5)
Eight achingly original, wonderfully witty and touchingly tender stories spanning the globe:
Antarctica, New Zealand, India, New York City,
Malta, Italy, Switzerland, England.
Eight countries, eight strangers, eight escapes…
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Mario Dhingsa. ***
Maps of Bliss and Rage was collection of 8 short stories set in 8 different countries. It was about survival and adventure, revenge, abuse and religious conflicts, politics, Christianity and miracle, unlikely friendship, rumors about princess and her dangerous life, reminiscence of school life.
Writing was great. I loved the way each stories started with interesting characters and their situation, the way stories developed with plot twists and the unpredictable ends. Setting was great, the place and timeline for story, cultural aspect and some historical facts ware written perfectly. Some stories were entertaining, while some emotional, tense and had hard topics.
That blurb doesn’t say anything about the stories, so here is bits of what it’s about and what I liked.-
1. Between the Sword and the Wall
This was good first story of the collection. It followed Crozier, an environmentalist and Rawdon, a penguin biologist selected as staff replacement at Casey Station in Antarctica. Their wait till research starting in October was crucial in icy, bone chilling atmosphere. Loneliness, nothing to do drove most of them crazy. Rawdon got this crazy idea to visit a likely girlfriend at another base. In weather so chilling that even half kms was impossible to cross, these two set out on this crazy and deadly adventure. Their situation was awkward and I did feel bad for them but it was entertaining and humorous. I liked the end.
2. I won’t stay Still
This was the story of hurt lover and undervalued subordinate plotting their revenge to settle the score with a politician who was rich, powerful and an adulterer. It was set in New Zealand. I liked the way characters were called. There was no original name but were called by their position- diplomat, clerk, secretary, ambassador, Lady N. it was quite unique and so was the story. I loved this one. End was satisfactory.
3. The end of the storm in my hand
This was my most favorite story, set in India. It was a story of a gang leader plotting riots along with corrupted police officers, a cowardly evil officer who abused his wife and beat his children to vent off his anger, a helpless father trying to save his innocent daughter-in-law and many other people of the town. This made me so much angry. It had some tragic events. The story was perfectly written. It was close to the fact. Author captured culture and flaws of India aptly.
4. The Pierogi Negotiation
It was set in USA that followed meeting of President Nixon with his National security advisor Kissinger discussing diplomatic situation related to bringing peace and ending Vietnam war. This was not my favorite story. I almost lost interest in the middle and had to read few passages again to get a grip.
5. Saints and Shipwrecks
It followed a sour old man and his son who returned after long time with his roman fiancée. Set in Malta, it expressed old man’s dislike towards romans, his strong belief in Saint Paul and the story of shipwreck, a daughter-in-law who didn’t agree with his thoughts and arguments, and a son sandwiched between two desperately trying to calm the situation and bring truce between the two bickering person in the house until they witness a miracle. At first I didn’t get what was going on and what they were talking about until I googled the Saint Paul story they were arguing over. I liked the way story took turn. End was shocking.
6. A Gentle Hand
This was set in Rome, at cemetery where a wondering spirits met three other waiting for the gate to open and pass through from this world. They form unlikely friendship after death during this waiting period. Their life story was intriguing. But again I lost interest at some point and I had to read twice to understand this story.
7. Knives Within
This story follows a rumor about illegitimate princess, a member of imperial family of Japan, who was sent away to study in Europe but kept under protection and surveillance. There were those who wanted to save her, keep her protected and those who wanted to take advantage of imperial family’s situation and harm Princess. The story was tense, fast paced, had interesting turn and unpredictable end.
8. De tijd brengt rozen
The story followed Marty reminiscing a childhood event that changed his life, a time with his beloved teacher who understood him, cared for him and had changed his life by helping him to be better person. This story had unexpected end.
Why 3.5 stars-
As I said I had, in 2-3 stories I lost interest in middle and had to re-read few passages to get a grip. Maybe it’s just me, it won’t be the case with you, but it niggled a little.
Overall, it was interesting anthology with creative stories that took place in different countries .
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already or any book by the same author? Are you going to add it to TBR? Which is your favorite Anthology or short story?
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