Fiction - Short Story/Novela
148 Pages
Reviewed on 01/03/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite

Prasvapa by Chand Svare Ghei is a collection of short stories that are essentially philosophical in nature. Prasvapa is translated text and contains a few short stories, each with a unique theme, plot line, and characters. However, the underlying philosophical tone that searches for the meaning of life, death, love, and the universe is common throughout and is pervasive. Prasvapa speaks of the hopes and ambitions of man and the realization of how, in the end, all that matters is love. This is a book that makes one ponder over those universal and fundamental questions that have haunted mankind since the beginning of life.

Prasvapa by Chand Svare Ghei is a short read and I enjoyed some of the stories more than others. There is certainly an element of suspense, drama, and mystery in these stories, along with providing plenty of food for thought. Ancient concepts of consciousness and the ultimate realization are indirectly explored through these thought-provoking tales. That being said, the language at times felt stilted and artificial. This is probably due to the fact that some quality was lost during translation and the original voice and tone of the writing probably did not translate accurately. Even so, this is an interesting book of short stories that gives one plenty to think about and reflect over one’s own life and the seeming futility of it all. For this reason, I would recommend this book.

Kayti Nika Raet

Prasvapa is Norwegian author Chand Svare Ghei's English language debut. A collection of short stories that is an exercise of imagination. To Kill a Christmas Tree, a tale told from a young boy's point of view, manages to capture the innocent determination of childhood while throwing in a bittersweet twist. Each tale is accompanied by an illustration created by Katarina Sand Midtlyng, and while most of the stories are stand-alones, the exception is Ghei's stories about Kenneth Johansen, which tease at a much longer novel in the future.

Prasvāpa, the name of the title, means consciousness during sleep, and many of the stories read like half awake daydreams. Some of them have a natural story arc while others seem to be experiments of imagination. Reading Prasvāpa by Chand Svare Ghei was an interesting endeavor, his use of a language not native to him is enough to keep the reader's attention in and of itself, but I also found myself marveling at a turn of phrase. At the same time, I often encountered stories where I was not sure where things were headed even after reaching the end, and part of me wondered if the language was a hindrance.

All in all, I applaud Chand Svare Ghei's drive to stretch himself and grow as a writer, bringing something to the literary world that no native English speaker can. Ghei provides a unique view on story and the written word and manages to craft not one, but dozens of stories to showcase his talent.

Benjamin Ookami

Prasvapa is a collection of thirteen short stories by Chand Svare Ghei which are centered on characters that are each affected by loneliness in different ways. The short stories include titles like An Everyday Adventure, I Believe in Magic, On the Run, The Strife for Water, and The Spy. In An Everyday Adventure, a nameless woman who had been forced to abort the only child that she had ever been pregnant with locks herself away from the world. If she dares not go out into the world to find happiness, can it be that happiness will somehow find her? When she goes outside in search of her cat one day, she must choose whether or not to help a broken and nameless man just like her.

These thirteen short stories are enjoyable, easy to follow, and beautifully written. Just like what I could gather from reading An Everyday Adventure, every story that follows has a clear and different message. In To Kill a Christmas Tree, the second story, two kids who are growing up inside a house in which the food they eat is mostly fish sticks and potatoes have no idea what important lesson they are about to learn when they return home after cutting down a tree for Christmas. Not all the stories are realistic as the author makes way for a bit of speculative fiction as well. The author even makes way for detective and spy fiction, so I would say that Chand Svare Ghei has written something for everybody.

Charles Remington

Prasvapa (of consciousness during sleep) is an anthology of intriguing short stories by Norwegian author Chand Svare Ghei. The collection is the author’s first published work in the English language and encompasses a wide range of subjects. There are fourteen tales in all, ranging from An Everyday Adventure, the story of a young woman rescuing a destitute man from a frozen hedgerow, to Lost Astray and All Alone, an oblique science fiction yarn involving terrorists, smugglers, crashing spaceships and people and planets that are not at all what they seem. In between there are tales which would fit into the genre of Fantasy, along with those that would fit into Detective Fiction, Espionage and Psychology, several of which have unexpected twists in the story line. Mr Chand Svare Ghei presents a broad range of subject matter and demonstrates a high degree of storytelling skill.

Prasvapa is a challenging read; Mr Chand Svare Ghei has chosen to publish in English which is not his native tongue and, although the story lines are intelligible, some of the flow and style of a good narrative is missing. There are times, however, when the author’s obvious talent shines through and greatly rewards the reader’s effort. Writing in English when it is not one’s mother tongue is extremely difficult; could I respectfully suggest that it may be better to write the stories in Norwegian and use the services of professional translators, just as many other authors have done over the years, from Turgenev to Murakami. Prasvapa is an interesting collection of stories with much to recommend it. Mr Chand Svare Ghei deserves a good deal of credit for the work that has gone into its compilation.