Don’t know what to read?
As a reader, there’s nothing more devastating than finishing a great book.
Reading is a drug.
Immersing yourself in a great story and then suddenly getting “dried out” leaves you wanting more, with a hunger for flowing words comparable only to a vampire’s craving for blood.
You’re looking for some new exciting story but you’ve already devoured every title you could think about? Happens to the best of us. The good news is that as you already know, there’s always something new to read. The problem is finding something of quality. How many times has it happened to you that some of the most famous and heavily acclaimed novels or sagas to you seemed boring-bleach? Of course it depends on tastes, and sometimes it seems impossible to find a book with the flavor you’re looking for. That’s why I created this “review serie” called “Don’t Know What To Read?”. Out there, there are countless incredible books with masterpiece stories that are unknown to most readers. I want to change this. In this article, as the title says, I’m going to inform you about the best short stories you’ve never heard about, for they’re brand new. Of course, just like for long books, short stories have a multitude of genres as well, but the reason I didn’t include those genres in the title of this article is that each of his stories belong to different genres (historical fiction, drammatic, fantasy, realistic fiction etc. ) and therefore it’s difficult to “bound” the author’s writing skills to just a few of them.
The author’s name is Shobhit Dabral. Master Mariner by profession, he currently sails as Captain of merchant ships and in the meanwhile, he also works on his short stories (publishing them on his blog) and on his first book.
FOLLOW THE AUTHOR
If you’d like to follow Mr. Shobhit Dabral, these are his social links:
READ HIS SHORT STORIES FOR FREE
Now that you know what this article is about and who is the author of these stories, here’s my personal opinion about them…
as I wrote above, each of his short stories explores a different genre. A remarkable fact they all have in common is that each of his characters are nameless. Mr. Dabral approaches short stories with a different style from other writers, trying to involve the readers in the story building as much as possible. As he himself has told me in the past:
I believe that short stories should avoid that* so everyone reading it reads to the tune of their own characters.
*using characters’ names
and after reading his stories, I agree with him. Another fact worth mentioning, is how complex his plots are. Short stories are called “short stories” because they’re so short they don’t have any subplot, but Mr. Dabral masterfully manages to carve in people’s minds stories that could easily be a two hours movie or a long-lenght novel. So why are they still considered short stories? Technically speaking, he describes only the main plot, but with a few carefully placed phrases (mostly about the past) he creates the illusion of the presence of subplots, so deep yet so obvious people can easily immagine them. All of this, in about two pages. Sometimes just in one page. That’s what in my opinion is the greatest of his writing techniques. However, these techniques would be nothing without the most important part of those stories: the plot. In my previous articles I wrote that what differentiates a standard book from a great masterpiece is that this latter always has a soul. That’s exactly what those short stories have, but let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
What kind of soul do all of his stories have in common? Some writers’ stories’ souls are made of passionate romances, other’s focus on showing how much life can destroy people’s mind, and other’s again, focus on political and social messages. Anything can become the soul of a book, therefore the list is quite long. Unlike many writers who choose “standard ways” despite of the countless possibilities, Mr. Dabral’s choices were quite unpredictable. And considering that he tries something new with each story, paradoxally this term shouldn’t necessarily apply to all of them, for by trying every kind of writing, soon or late it should happen that one of those classical ideas that morphed the way we see writing itself appears for the billionth time as one of those clichés we’re so used to. Yet it does although it doesn’t…
It may happen that some of those classical ideas will appear indeed, but the way he extends them and makes them evolve is extremely fresh, making the term “unpredictable” fit like a glove the stories I’ve read.
In this review I’d like to try something new as well. Instead of writing a review regarding just one story (whether it’s a book or it’s divided in a saga), I’m going to write three short reviews about three of his short stories.
GENRE: HISTORICAL FICTION – TITLE: FOR THE EMPIRE
A tale of greed, devilish plans and an unpredictable vengeance in the royal court of ancient India. The Maharaja (meaning: Great King) had a life everyone would envy, except for the fact that he was forced to marry a woman he didn’t love at the young age of 18. Thanks to him the reign became stronger than ever, but a traitor is hiding in the shadows, manipulating the lives of all the people closest to him. How will this end? I’ll let you the pleasure to discover that. All I can say, is that in this story there’s basically no dialogues and absolutely no descriptions. The whole story is narrated in third person, quickly moving through many years, focusing only on the most important informations. The only two lines of dialogue in the whole plot are the ones holding the unpredictable and incredibly satisfying plot twist itself, although the fact that there were these two lines was a big surprise on its own.
GENRE: REALISTIC FICTION – TITLE: THE LITTLE HOUSE
Mr. Dabral is a writer who wrote a story about a writer who wrote a story… write-ception.
Movie jokes aside, this story is heartbreaking and it moved me in a way very, VERY few stories did. It shows how sometimes, despite all of our efforts, good intentions may turn against the very reason we followed them, and also that sometimes it’s simply better to not do anything at all. Unlike in For The Empire, this story has both more descriptions and dialogues. Mr. Dabral changed almost completely his writing style.
The plot starts with a writer looking for a peaceful place to write. One of his friends suggests him to go rent a room in a small cottege half an hour away from a small town. The cottage is owned by a kind, old lady.
After just a few days, the protagonist and the lady changed each other’s lives without even realizing it, starting a drammatic chain of events that I’ll leave you the pleasure to discover.
GENRE: MAGICAL REALISM/SCI-FI – TITLE: THE OTHER LIVES
I saved the best for the last. This story is one of his fans (including me) favorites. Mr. Dabral changed writing style once more, this time with the story being almost entirely based on the dialogues. A strange curse that passes from generation to generation. Whenever the cursed falls asleep, he dreams of being a new person and living that person’s life until death. Once the cursed wakes up, everything goes normally, without any supernatural events, until… again, why spoil all the fun? All I can tell you is that the ending may be the introduction to a future book (although this hasn’t been confirmed by the author). This story will make you think a lot, hitting the softest yet strongest spot of your mind: curiosity.
At last, my opinion of Mr. Shobhit Dabral’s works is the following:
Each of his stories are pure pearls of the “short-stories” genre and authentic masterpieces. My final vote is 5 stars out of 5.