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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fears and tears
As with other novels by Dan Simmons, the worst horror is the reality so movingly depicted. The real monster is Calcutta, a city dedicated to Kali, goddess of death, with its open morgues and its fresh dead on the morning streets - something that should be dead, but putrefyingly persists. This is not the only source of horror, however - at least one scene in an unlit...
Published on 6 Jan 2004 by Tobias Murran

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric.
This reads a little like an old fashioned horror, all about the atmosphere rather than the events themselves with lots of exotic native colour.

Robert is a decent character who behaves in a perfectly reasonable and believable manner as things get progressively weirder and worse.

The pace never seems hectic even at the climax but there is always...
Published on 31 Oct 2010 by plot hound


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fears and tears, 6 Jan 2004
This review is from: Song of Kali (Paperback)
As with other novels by Dan Simmons, the worst horror is the reality so movingly depicted. The real monster is Calcutta, a city dedicated to Kali, goddess of death, with its open morgues and its fresh dead on the morning streets - something that should be dead, but putrefyingly persists. This is not the only source of horror, however - at least one scene in an unlit room had me reading with my hand over my mouth in fear. And the ending is heartbreakingly desolate. As Mr Simmons says, don't blame him that his books are marketed as horror, and don't blame him for the artwork. He is a highly literate author whose novels are driven by character, not incident. A satisfyingly frightening and surprisingly moving read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressively understated, 24 Sep 2007
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This review is from: Song of Kali (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I'll admit that I bought and read this novel expecting it to be more of a pacy bestseller style read. Instead, the book I discovered had more of a literary air to it - although plenty of chills and gripping episodes were included - in a read that proved quick and enthralling.

Yes, as other reviews on this site point out, the plotting is very minimal, but in my opinion nonetheless engaging for all of that. One of Simmons' strengths as a writer is his rendering of atmospherics and place - he uses the backdrop of Calcutta to instill a nagging sense of misery and unease in the reader - the perfect backdrop to his central motif of the goddess of death and destruction. But he is also aware enough to address the problematics of a Western perspective on India, including wry - and not dry - discussions about this within the body of the text.

Without going into the details of plot, the narrative follows a downwards spiral which is quite compelling for the reader in its bleakness - in the way that say, Stephen King's Pet Semetary is. Rather than follow that well trodden path into the void however, Simmons ultimately, is able to produce a quiet, hopeful ending that lifts the book above run of the mill horror shockers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally underrated!, 9 Jun 2009
By 
Mr. K. Akram "Alkemist" (Wembley, London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I first read this book in 1989. I found it unputtdownable then. Now, twenty years later I got hold of copy on ebay and lent it to a friend. My friend was also spellbound and finished it in three days.

The book brings Calcutta alive in way that I have not seen any author do. The story is well paced. There is mystery and suspense. The brooding, evil underside of Calcutta is really well structured. Not that Calcutta is like that - but its a fictional device that works very well.

The shock ending really got me - I was truely suprised and upset - so I won't spoil it for you.

The way he creates M Das as a student of Tagore is entirely believeable. The character Krishna leaves many unanswered questions. I would LOVE to see a sequel to this book.

I would recommend this books to anyone interested in India / Kali.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery and magic inside the dark heart of Calcutta., 2 Oct 2014
By 
JK "J. K." (UK) - See all my reviews
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Originally published in 1985, winner of the 1986 World Fantasy Award, and the only Dan Simmons novel I hadn't read.

This is old style horror written with literary skill and a great sense of plotting. It's slow to build and fascinating to read. Robert Luzcak, writer/journalist, is driven to the point of insanity as he becomes involved with the darkly beating heart of the mysterious Calcutta. On his journey to discover the works of a dead poet, M. Das, Luzcak becomes embroiled in a series of twists and turns forcing him deeper into a mysterious journey involving the Goddess Kali, ancient ritual, the living dead, disease and esoteric writings. Calcutta is the monster at the heart of the story. Everything springs from her and she's in no rush to forgive. Add the collision of two very different cultures, a great sense of insanity v reality played out against a beautifully drawn background - you're in for a treat.

Because 'Song of Kali' hails from the 1980s, and Calcutta lies mostly hidden under modern development, there are times when some themes and attitudes become old fashioned. Don't let that put you off. Be prepared to let go and go with it. I'd recommend this novel to any fan of horror fiction looking for something outside of the current crop of contemporary writers. Well worth a download.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Under your skin' creepy and haunts you for days., 1 Nov 2013
Be transported to the smells, sights, sounds of Calcutta and experience the city through the eyes of the protagonist. While there, you'll experience the many layers of reality that Dan Simmons creates, and each layer adds to the richness and depth of this hauntingly disturbing tale. Graphic yet subtle, reading Dan Simmons's books is like watching a movie in my head, but better. Creepiness that lingers and haunts you for days. Brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will scare parents senseless!, 26 July 2011
By 
R. P. Wright "Mr Skinner" (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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I read this about five years ago just after our second child had been born and within that context the themes in the book scared me senseless! The descriptions of Calcutta are so moving and horrifying that it'll put you off ever visiting the place, I am sure for the Indian tourist board Dan Simmons is up there on its list of villians.
Calcutta in the book is a character all by itself, and a Lovecraftian character at that.

There are complaints that the story lacks a plot but I just don't understand this- it's a complaint made of a lot of Simmons' work but in my opinion this is a reflection of sometimes relatively simple plots being drawn out longer than would normally be the case thanks to Simmons fullsome descriptions of events, surroundings and fully fleshing out of characters and background story. All are a key part of his style and really reward the more patient reader.

This is a must read for both horror and Simmons fans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric., 31 Oct 2010
By 
plot hound (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This reads a little like an old fashioned horror, all about the atmosphere rather than the events themselves with lots of exotic native colour.

Robert is a decent character who behaves in a perfectly reasonable and believable manner as things get progressively weirder and worse.

The pace never seems hectic even at the climax but there is always something strange happening. The transitions from apparent normality to complete insanity are handled quite well.

The problem is the same as with Simmons other books, the ending doesn't do justice to the story, it is ok but a bit of a let down, the energy in the book just sort of peters out.

A decent read but spoiled by the weak ending.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a classic, 23 April 2005
By 
Alex Fell (Rugby, Warwickshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Song of Kali (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
The Song of Kali was Dan Simmons' first novel. As such, it is something of an apprentice work. The themes which appear in his beter known works (the Hyperion Cantos and the Olympos series) are present: scholarly heroes, writers and great literature, and doomed children and the effect on their parents. The setting (Calcutta in the 1970s) is also extremely vivid and well described - there is an awful lot of wading around in filth, and a clammy, miasmic feeling is very strongly evoked.
But it has to be said, not a lot really happens. Our hero arrives in Calcutta to see a supposedly deceased poet, has a few stories related to him about the cult of Kali, a few nasty things happen to him (and one very nasty thing) and then he heads off again. The plot does seem a bit thin, and becomes fairly incoherent towards the end. And the tone is not really very fantastical or horrific - it is probably deliberate on the author's part, but we never really find out if his fantastical expreiences are real or not, or just figments of his imagination.
Overall, this is a good book and a worthwhile read if you like Dan Simmons. But it is not his best, and if you are new to this author, try Hyperion or Olympos first.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An odd but well crafted tale, 16 July 2014
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This review is from: Song of Kali (Kindle Edition)
It is an odd, compact little tale. An assignment takes a journalist, his wife and young daughter to Calcutta. Here, his pursuit of the story and recovery of a collection of poetry purported to be recently authored by a dead writer, lure him into the darker, grimy depths of the city and it's cultures, ultimately drawing both himself and his family inexorably into a nightmare scenario. Satisfying, well paced, engaging story telling. I felt frustrated, menaced and begrimed! It's Mr Simmons on form.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting..., 8 Jan 2014
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Great first novel and clearly demonstrates the fruits of his later greatness but slightly overwrought. However, an important start in reading the Simmons canon.
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Song of Kali (FANTASY MASTERWORKS)
Song of Kali (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) by Dan Simmons (Paperback - 10 Mar 2005)
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