Song of Kali (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 10 Mar 2005
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One of the most terrifying books ever written. 'Song of Kali' transcends any cheap thrills you get from a Stephen King novel, Dan Simmons' vision of horror set in the claustrophobic heat of India is fierce and unrelenting. (Aberdeen Evening Express)
The World Fantasy Award-winning masterpiece of dark fantasySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Simmons uses the intimidating aspects of the busy city of Calcutta in the mid 70s to give this book a malevolent air and is not original in the use of Kali as an evil entity (think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom).
I think he may have alienated many Calcuttians after he executed this horror read in his portrayal of the city and its inhabitants. However, you have to bear in mind he wrote this in 1985 about being in Calcutta in 1977. Things change and with time more is understood and accepted about other cultures on the whole.
As a horror read though, this one will definitely give you nightmares as the perceived terrible goddess seeps into your subconscious.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The writing is excellent and very lyrical and evocative - this is one of the best-written (and most gruesome) horror novels I have read in a while. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Captain of my Soul
I liked this book very much. It is not very heavy, but the author does a very good job in decribing the city and installing a sense of dread in the reader.Published 17 months ago by TheMightyAlgernon
This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. The plot is really rather minimal but do not be put off by that. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Ned Jericho
This is quite a funny book for those who live in or have spent some time in Calcutta. There are lines such as "the Goonda brotherhood of Calcutta is older than the Kapalik... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Satadal
It is an odd, compact little tale. An assignment takes a journalist, his wife and young daughter to Calcutta. Read morePublished on 16 July 2014 by Mel Powell
This is the best Dan Simon s book I have read. Good story and setting and not too long and dense which I found with some of his other books.Published on 12 Mar. 2014 by Hollycat
Great first novel and clearly demonstrates the fruits of his later greatness but slightly overwrought. However, an important start in reading the Simmons canon.Published on 8 Jan. 2014 by Adamnan