Posted On : October 31 2020
Writer : Abhirup Dhar
Today being Halloween we got one of India’s emerging and bestselling horror writers Abhirup Dhar to give us a list of books that he thinks are spooky and scary. His Hold That Breath and his latest The Belvoirbrooke Haunting both in the horror genre are Amazon bestsellers.
Stephen King's Pet Sematary
As per me, it's King's most terrifying work by dint of its simple but frightening concept - a cemetery where the dead comes alive, if buried.
Stephen King's The Shining
There will always be people who prefer Stanley Kubrick's movie which didn't go well with King but the fact remains, strong atmospherics make the book equally endearing if not better.
R. L. Stine's The New Year's Party (Fear Street)
I was a huge fan of R. L. Stine and grew up reading his Fear Street books. The Goosebumps series didn't really strike a chord with me. This one was racy, engrossing and had a really cool twist, which scared me back then.
Neil D' Silva's Right Behind You
Short horror stories have a charm of their own as the genre is huge; it's more like a buffet where you can choose from, depending on what you enjoy most. I personally believe short stories are challenging as one has to develop the characters and setting within fewer pages. This book was fun and well-written.
Satyajit Ray's ghost stories
Most of Ray’s ghost stories had the haunted house as a trope. In ‘Anath Babur Bhoy’ (Anath Babu’s Fear), the narrator meets Anath Babu, an expert on haunted houses who has toured many of them in the country, on his way to visit another. ‘Brown Shaheber Baari’ (Mr. Brown’s House) was set in a dilapidated house in Kalimpong where a bank employee and his friend spend a night to determine who Simon is, as mentioned in an old diary written by a man called Brown. Then, there were other stories like ‘Conway Castle er Pretatma’ (The Spirit of Conway Castle), ‘Dhumalgorer Hunting Lodge’ (The Hunting Lodge of Dhumalgar), etc. Some of these were told by a fictional character called Tarini Khuro, an aged bachelor probably in his late sixties, living in Beniatola Lane, College Street in the erstwhile Calcutta. He tells his stories to an audience of five children based on his varied experiences gathered throughout all his years of living in many cities across the country, not sticking to any job for more than a year.
Another one I recall listening to is ‘Fritz’, in which a doll comes alive when a man who played with it during childhood visits a circuit house. It wants to play with him now! ‘Child’s Play’ and ‘Annabelle’ came much later just like Steven Spielberg’s ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ which was allegedly plagiarized from a script written by Ray. The other setting in his ghost stories was trains (and railway stations). In ‘First Class Kamra’ (First Class Compartment), the London-returned protagonist falls asleep while reading a detective novel in a railway compartment, wakes up to supposedly come face-to-face with Major Davenport’s ghost, still stuck in the British era. In ‘Anath Babur Bhoy’ which I mentioned earlier, the narrator first meets Anath Babu in a train to Raghunathpur, where he is going to visit a haunted house.
Ray’s stories and films were much ahead of their time but come to think of it, he told them with absolute simplicity even if the narratives were complex.
Today, horror might be a neglected genre in literature but it wasn’t really then. If there have been some great writers abroad, we had some excellent ones here too.
About Abhirup Dhar: He was born in Kolkata and has lived in various cities and towns. A banker by profession, he is passionate about writing and has been doing so ever since he was a child. He also has a keen interest in movies and reviewed them for certain portals after which he got his first book out, initially penned for the sheer joy of it –‘Once Again... With Love!’ a quirky take on modern-day relationships. He believes the best stories are always the ones simply written from the heart and for the heart! He then celebrated storytelling in his next outing with ‘Stories Are Magical’ and readers had a fun, relaxing read again. Abhirup then delved into horror with ‘Hold That Breath!’ focused to tell different kinds of stories and the response was fantastic too. It went on to top the Amazon bestseller charts for months since the very first day of its release and was among its Best Reads. Recipient of various awards and honour for his notable works, one of his upcoming books has already been acquired by a reputable production house for screen adaptation. All his other works are also being represented and considered for the same. His latest offering The Belvoirbrooke Haunting has been topping the charts since its release. He currently lives in Mumbai.
Happy Halloween everyone. Here’s to a spooky night!