By: Mario Dhingsa
Publisher: Mario Dhingsa
Publication Date: May 15, 2019
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: September 6, 2019
There are those who will state that in the world of literature at this time, the number of short story collections are far too few. Those readers are absolutely correct. And this becomes even more blatantly clear when you begin reading this particular collection filled with suspense, romance, the fantastical, the inspirational, and everything else in between.
This author has, quite literally, brought the reader along on one of the best trips through history, offering up a variety of factual moments and tales that take part in some of the most stunning areas of the world. In fact, you will not only come away from this book with a sense of longing to read it again right away, but also a yearning to go on the internet and start booking a trip to some of these locales.
Although one review cannot cover each tale as they should be covered, we must begin with the very first “icy” story from Antarctica (“Between the Sword and the Wall”). We are introduced to two very different men: Crozier – an environmental chemist, and Rawdon – a penguin biologist. At Casey Station, these two are there to replace other staff members who’d gone a bit crazy by the unyielding winter and rebelled. These two opposites end up trying to escape a world that seems to unleash nothing but abominable temperatures. Along the way, they save a Professor who was lost in the freezing landscape, and stumble upon a station run by Russians.
In Wellington, New Zealand, a tale is told between a diplomatic underling and the lover of a married ‘higher-up’ in the world of politics. Thrown together, they end up becoming friends and pulling the rug out from underneath the so-called feet of power while savoring some truly palette pleasing treasures along the way. Written perfectly, this is one story (“I Won’t Stay Still”) where a variety of emotions abound.
Traveling to Jalandhar, India (“The End of the Storm in My Hand"), we meet a corrupt cop by the name of Kulvir working for a truly devious man who is wanted by the Delhi police force. This cop is a violent abuser of his wife and children. However his father, Amrik – a man who has lived in silence in order to shield himself from his own evil wife – wants nothing more than to stop his son from harming anyone else. By working with an innocent-looking tailor, a plan comes together involving a riot and good, old-fashioned alcohol to bring about a battle of cultures and religions in order to save innocent lives.
In Malta, we meet up with a sour man named Charlo who has lost his wife (even though he seems more than happy that she’s gone by the wayside), and his son, Pawlu. This is an inspirational tale as the son tries desperately to get his father to accept his fiancée, who just so happens to be from Rome. The arguments about Christianity and how the Maltese people certainly led the way and did not follow behind the Romans, is part of the battles. But when both fiancée and bitter future father-in-law witness a miracle, tides turn quickly as St. Paul, a deceased woman, and a Christian holiday come together, leaving a surprise ending readers won’t expect.
One of the most beautiful stories is set in Rome, Italy; (“A Gentle Hand”). Various cultures meet in a non-denominational cemetery: spirits that sit here awaiting their next step forward which will take them through the gates and on to greener pastures. Unlikely friendships are made, humor is enjoyed, and the pain of past lives dissipates as the belief in the beauty of angels and what comes next takes center stage.
As stated previously, a book review can go on only so long. There are more tales: From President Nixon and his Secretary of State Kissinger dining out in NYC in January of 1973; to a young man who looks back on his life and meets up with a teacher from his past; to a fast-moving tale that involves the rumor of a missing Princess and the slew of people from a variety of countries who are waiting to either save her or silence her. This author has done an amazing job of waxing lyrical, historical, cultural and, quite frankly, beautiful.
Quill says: Covering “eight countries, eight strangers, and eight escapes,” this is a collection that deserves a prominent place on your ‘inspirational' bookshelf.
For more information on Maps of Bliss and Rage, please visit the book's Goodreads page at: www.goodreads.com/book/maps-of-bliss-and-rage