Stories with a tinge of childhood mischief | Sunday Observer
BOOK REVIEW:

Stories with a tinge of childhood mischief

27 December, 2020

The author of the book ‘Lost in Retirment and other Stories’ Raj de Silva, is a successful civil engineer, who had earned several international accolades, for his contribution to some landmark civil engineering projects overseas. This book is his first contribution to the literary world.??

He has skillfully assembled fifteen multifaceted stories, with diverse characters and incidents, encapsulating his personal experiences and imagination in Sri Lanka and abroad. Most stories portray the mindset of people, in real life situations, in their day-to-day life with a twist in the tale. Some of them are open ended and the dialogue used conveys emotions where desirable. Some local terms, with regional variations that are shown in italics direct the reader to the Glossary, at the end of the Book. This would be useful, particularly to non-Sri Lankan readers.?

Childhood mischief

Although some stories appear to have a sad ending, there is a tinge of childhood mischief, in most.

Taking a brief look at a few of his stories, the first story titled ‘The Pot at the end of a Rainbow’ focuses on the plight of three good friends in a desperate situation, trying to become rich overnight by resorting to desperate measures. ?

He has also stepped into the avian world, in ‘Smokey’, which brings out the kind of fairy tale bond between a child and a bird. This story has been written and emailed, as his birthday gift to his granddaughter in England, during his period of isolation, in Sri Lanka during the Coronavirus pandemic.?

‘Living in Hope’ portrays the emotions of a disabled daughter, the youngest in the family, who tries to fulfil her old father’s wish, when other siblings had failed.?

‘Good Samaritans’ offer an exciting journey through the Southern coastal towns of Sri Lanka, while ‘Ramblers’ Club’ draws the reader’s attention to the glorious town of Galle. He has not failed to pay tribute to the southern coastal town that was his home away from home, during his youth.???

Teresting and alluring

The story titled ‘King Coconuts’ is so vivid, that it appears to be a reflection of one of his own mischievous escapades with his playful friends during childhood.?

In ‘Unforgiven’, an innocent family learns to put up with an inconsiderate and ungrateful neighbour, who would take every opportunity to annoy and hurt them. ?

Although the author does not believe in ghosts or spirits, in ‘Audit Trail’ he has fabricated a creepy story on ghostly experiences.?

The story about the little blind boy titled ‘Fingers that see’ is quite emotional.

The stories focus on the normal and abnormal behaviour of human beings, under different circumstances. All the short stories are quite interesting and alluring. ?

They are thoroughly enjoyable, and I have no doubt that they will resonate with the readers.?

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