ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday October 7, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 19

Muller on mysterious journeys into other worlds

Wedding Night by Carl Muller. Published by Perera Hussein (Rs. 350).

Reviewed by Joseph Appuhamy

During the recently held book fair at the BMICH, I purchased a book by a Sri Lankan author I have long been a fan of. The dark and eerie cover hinted strongly that the reader would plunge into obscure depths. The ghostly 3-D images on the back cover confirmed my opinion that this was no frivolous or lighthearted book. But using Carl Muller’s illustrious name as a beacon I took my courage in both hands and ventured in.

Carl Muller who has an impressive number of titles to his credit and has won the prestigious Gratiaen Prize as well as the exclusive State Literary Award, manifestly is not a writer who is fettered by genre.
His latest entry to the Sri Lankan literary scene carries the cryptic title Wedding Night. However, the eponymous story has little to do with nuptials and without giving the plot away, I can tell you it has more to do with haunted houses set in the hill country and mysterious journeys into other worlds.

As the monsoon raged outside and the 30 year old jak tree creaked ominously outside my window, I read on, pausing now and then to shiver and close the windows against spirits invoked by these stories.

Yes, you guessed it. This is not Yakada Yakka and Carl Muller has moved on from writing about himself as Carlo boy. Although, it would be impossible to claim the stories are entirely devoid of personal experience, they are certainly good examples of creative writing and perhaps because of this, even more credible.

This collection of 12 short stories is reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s writing style and can be classified as macabre adult. Cleverly avoiding the genre of horror, these stories run the gamut of, but are not limited to, the mystical, the bizarre and tales of religious indignation. As always Muller writes with a beautiful turn of phrase and takes us down dark and at times uncomfortable corridors of the mind. My only criticism is that occasionally the transition from full blown story to conclusion seems somewhat abrupt.

For this collection, Carl Muller seems to have drawn on his experience of men and matters, on his knowledge of the occult and his easy familiarity with Greek mythology.

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