For someone, who is scared of the dark and sees strange people in the clothes hanging on a drying line, Afterlife – Ghost Stories from Goa by Jessica Faleiro fails to give goose bumps.
However, the eight stories, divided into two parts, are gripping and leave the reader wanting to know just what will happen next. The book is about the reunion of the Fonseca family at Carvalho mansion, where they will celebrate the 75h birthday of Savio Fonseca. Carol, his younger daughter flies down from London, Joanna has come with her husband and son from the US.
The night before the party, the family gathers around their dining table, sharing ghost stories of their dead ancestors. Auntie Marie and Uncle Eduardo, who live nearby, drop by to meet the girls. Turns out, each and every family member has had a brush with the other world.
The older generation tells tales of their parents and the children narrate spooky life events. Faleiro adds no special effects, typical of ghost stories, but it works only in some stories. In a story on exorcism of a boy possessed by an older man’s spirit, the narrative falls flat.
Uncle Eduardo tells the story of his mother on her deathbed being visited by a kogul, while Auntie Marie narrates the story of her grand uncle Henry, whose life is doomed after he buys a red Venetian goblet. Sam’s story is most gripping, which talks of a urban legend of a little girl haunting a house.
All unconnected fragments of supernatural fall into place in the end. This is a book that makes you itch to turn to the last chapter to know the climax.