- Author: Nag Mani
- Genre: Horror
- Paperback: 282 pages
- Publisher: Notion Press; 1 edition (2019)
- Language: English
Somewhere in a faraway village, there is the ruin of an ancient temple where no one worships. If you happen to come across it someday, you should bow your head and walk away. Do not be tempted to go in, and temped you will be, for the Devi of the temple grants wishes.
But she must be promised something in return…
Aditi talked to the stars when she was married to a man ten years older than herself, and they whispered to her that she was responsible for her own happiness. And that was what she had been struggling to do, searching for moments of joy in a patriarchal society… until she had to shift with her husband to Ufrail, a remote village in Bihar infamous for its blood-curdling history.
And then she hears about the temple of the Devi… and she is tempted!
When I looked at the cover of this book and read its title, my first impression was that the book would be along the lines of the Bollywood flick ‘Stree’ but as I delved deep into it, I realized that how multilayered, diverse, and different it is.
DEVI by Nag Mani is a book belonging to the horror genre, is meant to scare the shit out of you, but at the same time, it puts forth the ugly aspects of Indian culture. Set in the state of Bihar, the book travels around the different villages to introduce its characters and narrate their stories. Each character is living with its own eccentricities, challenges, and secrets. The book mainly focusses on the revenge, betrayal, shifts in the dynamics of the society, black magic, and what not. It doesn’t leave any stone unturned to give you spooky feels. And it doesn’t disappoint you either.
Aditi is married to a bank manager Manoj. The abrupt transfers of Manoj lead him to different villages and thus, they reach Aambari. Aditi hears the hum of a woman, finds a weird forest, listens to the stories of superstitions (which turn out to be true much to her disbelief), beholds the sight of two young girls dying horrifically, bears torture, finds herself entangled in the web of lies and deception, inching closer to death. Would she be alive and fine after all that is happening?
The book is divided into four parts each giving out an aspect of the complete picture. The book begins with a violent scene but what follows are revelations that befuddle us. The mystery behind Devi, the shadow man, the folklore revolving around a Queen sacrificed, reasons behind women of the village dying, sounds like a lot much to absorb, isn’t it? Well, the book is written wonderfully so you’d be hooked to it instantly. What might overwhelm you is its length which could have been cut and a few typing errors which really don’t go well with me. Otherwise, the crisp and fresh plot with a lot of layers definitely makes up for a good reading experience. The author has been successful in narrating a quintessentially delightful tale with different elements and themes running through it. I would definitely recommend it if you want to read Indian horror fiction.
MY RATING: 3.75/ 5
Buy your copy: DEVI