Rudrakshapalem lies a few kilometers East of Godavari in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh At first glance, it looks like just another sleepy little village But as you walk along its borders and peer into the lives of its people, you will find that deep within its breast are hidden some dark secrets In the temple compound roams a crazy man named Chander He hugs a gold pendant and sings lullabies to it every night What is his story Subbarao, one of Palem s richest men, came up the hard way, having started life as the poor son of a snack seller But what is the secret that gives him sleepless nights A young couple dealing with loss stand in front of the road to Palem, and there is a seller of mirrors on the sidewalk, welcoming them in Will they heed his words, or will they run away How much are happiness and peace worth to Rama Shastri, the priest of Palem s Shiva temple And to what extent will he go to ensure the well being of his daughter In these ten delightful stories, Sharath Komarraju takes you by the hand and gives you a fully guided tour of Palem and its people But don t fear, he will bring you back home safe and sound, long before it s dark


10 thoughts on “The Narrow Road to Palem

  1. Nivedita Nivedita says:

    To review a book of short stories is a very difficult task Always, the book contains some very good stories and some are just too plain And just like any other book of short stories, this book was a mixed bag There were some really powerful stories like, The Milk is Sour, Malli, Peaceful Are The Dead, etc, and some were good but too predictable or just too plain But, overall, the book gives you an eerie feeling and leaves you long lost in Palem among its mysteries This book is written by one To review a book of short stories is a very difficult task Always, the book contains some very good stories and some are just too plain And just like any other book of short stories, this book was a mixed bag There were some really powerful stories like, The Milk is Sour, Malli, Peaceful Are The Dead, etc, and some were good but too predictable or just too plain But, overall, the book gives you an eerie feeling and leaves you long lost in Palem among its mysteries This book is written by one of my favorite authors, who writes fiction and fantasy so easily, that it almost feels real He writes so beautifully, that it is impossible to leave the book and carry on with your lives And even after you finish reading it, and try to go on with your life, it just pulls you back and keep you rooted in the stories I ve said this before and I say this again, reading a book by Sharath Komarraju just means a lifelong commitment to his stories and characters.Coming to the stories, it is difficult for me to review all the ten stories separately, but it is possible for me to point out why I liked some storiesthan the others.The Ace of clubs, Malli, The Milk is Sour, Round and Round are definitely my favorites, because of how the story was told, how it provoked the coward inside me and I could find myself reaching for a support to finish through the stories Other stories like The Sitarist of Palem, No Yellow in My Rainbow, The Barber and The Milmaid and Peaceful Are The Dead were good but predictable I enjoyed reading them, no doubt, but the ending was very clear from the very beginning The rest of the two stories were spooky, but having read a lot of horror, mystery books, they just seemed too plain.Yet, these stories served the purpose of not just keeping the readers on edge but also to provide an insight in to the life of a village riddled with superstitions, ghost stories and myths, which to the villagers are true stories, which they live with.Thank you Sharath for providing me a copy of this amazing book, I cannot wait to read your other works


  2. Uday Kanth Uday Kanth says:

    Well, whether or not you ve read the author s main novel The Puppeteers of Palem , this short story collection set in the same eerie village of Rudraskshapalem will undoubtedly evoke lots of chills and thrills for sure It s good to see the expansion of canvas, and the village does really come alive in these pages Because it s not just about the stories themselves, which are good, but the author also throws the same people and locations at you so very often that by the end of it, you know ever Well, whether or not you ve read the author s main novel The Puppeteers of Palem , this short story collection set in the same eerie village of Rudraskshapalem will undoubtedly evoke lots of chills and thrills for sure It s good to see the expansion of canvas, and the village does really come alive in these pages Because it s not just about the stories themselves, which are good, but the author also throws the same people and locations at you so very often that by the end of it, you know every place and person by the back of your hand Palem is an intriguing and scary little village, and I d love to readof it though I m not sure if I wanna go anywhere near it Coming to the stories themselves, they are not just shallow tales weaved with a simple goal to spook you Each of them has an underlying humane conflict and there are also a lot of socio political motifs tied which all adds up nicely resulting in a layered and textured plot.So, if the prospect of a chilly adventure through a spooky village even remotely entices you, then you should definitely go for this one


  3. Deba Jyoti Khawas Deba Jyoti Khawas says:

    One of the most amazing short story collections that I have read.I generally don t read short stories much, because I don t feel they take enough time to get the reader into the characters and the story, but this book turns the same factor into its defining point I almost felt like reading a Ruskin Bond book written by George RR Martin, where there is a heavy sense of nostalgia and familiarity while reading this book, while at the same time unexpected dark humor and twists keeps one on his her One of the most amazing short story collections that I have read.I generally don t read short stories much, because I don t feel they take enough time to get the reader into the characters and the story, but this book turns the same factor into its defining point I almost felt like reading a Ruskin Bond book written by George RR Martin, where there is a heavy sense of nostalgia and familiarity while reading this book, while at the same time unexpected dark humor and twists keeps one on his her toes Yesterday night, I was reading part of this book with my lights off, on my Kindle and I almost felt a chill running down my spine in a couple of stories Personally, I will recommend this book to all my friends who like Byomkesh Bakshi, Malgudi Days and Ruskin Bond while growing up


  4. Advaita Shyam sunder Advaita Shyam sunder says:

    Take the scary house tour by devouring this book of short story collection namely, The Narrow Road to Palem I don t know the author personally, so please don t think I m exaggerating his work From an objective point of view, I can assure you that you will make a constructive use of time by reading these spooky stories as the ending of each story leaves you with a twinge of eeriness I agree even though we are intimidated by famous writers to pen reviews lauding their works, there are times whe Take the scary house tour by devouring this book of short story collection namely, The Narrow Road to Palem I don t know the author personally, so please don t think I m exaggerating his work From an objective point of view, I can assure you that you will make a constructive use of time by reading these spooky stories as the ending of each story leaves you with a twinge of eeriness I agree even though we are intimidated by famous writers to pen reviews lauding their works, there are times when some writers are comparatively less known due to ignorance of the reader community They don t try new books of budding writers as they feel they should stick to their favourite authors After reading this book, I encourage people to opt for contemporary Indian fiction and my faith in Indian English literature has been reaffirmed The fact is an amazingly written book like this needs to be recommended to as many people as possible We need to urge people to read novels with a class The uniqueness to the book is that it is written in an RK Narayan style and I m happy that young writers are bringing back the spirit of that legend.I was surprised by the way Sharath Komaraju has handled the storytelling aspect with aplomb narration and characterization Even though its horror, its not a cliche, every story in the book has an association with human psychology and is very much relatable Its entertaining as well as thought provoking The horror is within us in the form of our insecurities and existential crises Thats what the book says.The practicalities of real life has been taken into consideration while creating these stories, for instance, Subbai s dilemma whether an ace of clubs card is the good luck charm behind his wealth or the curse behind his loss of loved ones to death He is in two minds whether he should discard a playing card just because of the unfortunate ongoings after its entrance into his life or keep it as it has brought a lot of prosperity ever since he chanced upon it The card has been effectively personified as the evil element and the writer has done justice to transforming an inanimate object into a pivotal character in the story.The entire book isn t unrealistic fantasy inspite of having a supernatural underlying plot throughout the course of reading Switch of all the lights and read it in the night, well thats a dare which I cant do it


  5. Shree Shree says:

    Note This Review has been published in my blog Book and InkShort stories seem to be the in thing in town these days Turns out this writer also caught up on this trend and managed to deliver a perfect book of horror stories.Set in the fictitious village of Rudrakshapalem , the book is a collection of ten horror stories All the stories have a paranormal element in play Few of the stories were quite chilling while the others didn t manage to make such an impact My personal favorites were Note This Review has been published in my blog Book and InkShort stories seem to be the in thing in town these days Turns out this writer also caught up on this trend and managed to deliver a perfect book of horror stories.Set in the fictitious village of Rudrakshapalem , the book is a collection of ten horror stories All the stories have a paranormal element in play Few of the stories were quite chilling while the others didn t manage to make such an impact My personal favorites were The Milk is Sour A story which purely elaborates how guilt wrecks a person, Peaceful are the Dead A story that combines values and folklore One story which I couldn t understand at all was The Sitarist of Palem this story was a bit confusing I felt the paranormal element at play wasn t well executed One story that totally stood out was Dear House this story was narrated backward As in,chronologically backward and completely spooked me at one point.Overall, the way the writer built up the village piece by piece in all stories, reminded me of the village of Malgudi from the book of Malgudi Days by R.K.Narayan , albeit a dark one Obviously the writer managed to accomplish the intention of giving this eerie feel It s been ages since I read a book of this genre, needless to say, the narration, the plot and the characterization were good enough for me to enjoy the book MY SAY A simple book that packed a punch RATING PLOT 3.5 5CHARACTERISATION 3.5 5NARRATION 4 5BOREDOM QUOTIENT 1 5 Lower the better OVERALL RATING 4 5


  6. Sameer Sameer says:

    Reading in horror genre is new to me I really enjoyed this short stories collection by Sharath set in Rudrakshapalem , a village on the bank of river Godavari Palem is everything you don t wish for a village gloomy, eerie atmosphere, presence of ghosts But, you will long remember Palem after reading this.


  7. Raksha Bhat Raksha Bhat says:

    Some stories are for memory


  8. Neha Garg (thereadingowl_) Neha Garg (thereadingowl_) says:

    Amazing I could not put my kindle down until i finished the book.


  9. Pooja T Pooja T says:

    So good Such a satisfying read


  10. Rekha Rajgopal Rekha Rajgopal says:

    This is my second book by Sharath I first read Murder in Amaravati, which I liked enough to read it non stop I can say the same for this book too The stories are dark, disturbing and engaging enough for me to keep reading till the very end.Also, the writing is crisp He does not get all romantic and poetical when describing nature or the setting of a place, etc His writing is descriptive and creative at the same time It is annoying when writers romanticize everything from a cloud to a puddl This is my second book by Sharath I first read Murder in Amaravati, which I liked enough to read it non stop I can say the same for this book too The stories are dark, disturbing and engaging enough for me to keep reading till the very end.Also, the writing is crisp He does not get all romantic and poetical when describing nature or the setting of a place, etc His writing is descriptive and creative at the same time It is annoying when writers romanticize everything from a cloud to a puddle just to fill a novel or showcase their creativity Another book in which I did not find any flab Concise, good storytelling.Among the current crop of Indian writers, I find Sharath unpretentious, very to the point and he has some good stories to tell Some of the stories were a little vague but I still enjoyed them Towards the end perhaps the dark theme got a little repetitive but I still read on Full marks for creating the village of Palem as a dark grey one and making it so spooky This is an author I would read again