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Song of Kali de Dan Simmons
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Song of Kali (original: 1985; edição: 1998)

de Dan Simmons

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1,550488,567 (3.51)43
An American poet travels with his Indian wife and their infant daughter to Calcutta to pick up an epic poem cycle about the goddess Kali. What begins as an exploration of exotic and forbidding India turns into a harrowing descent of steadily mounting terror into the dark underworld of the cult of Kali.… (mais)
Membro:westonochse
Título:Song of Kali
Autores:Dan Simmons
Informação:Tor Books (1998), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 320 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:*****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Song of Kali de Dan Simmons (1985)

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I believe I've said before that I find Dan Simmons to be really hit-or-miss, and Song of Kali is such a hard miss it might well be some kind of "anti-hit".

Simmons's treatment of Calcutta and Indian culture is deeply prejudiced (at best) and has more than a whiff of orientalism to it. Someone else said in a review that Calcutta is used more as a vehicle for squalor and horrors rather than any attempt at an honest exploration of the place, which is a pretty succinct explanation for my problems with the book.

As far as it winning awards and being described as one of the scariest novels ever written, I'm not sure where the hell that came from. Maybe the literary landscape was just different at the time that this came out, but if you've read a couple of horror novels, I don't know what you would find in here that'd be that scary.

This is one of those situations where I see the praise and recommendations for a book, finish it, and immediately go back and make sure I wasn't told to read something else. Certainly a few hours of reading time I'd like back. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
Wow. This book was a lot better than I remember. I remember it being a pulpy '80s horror book that I read along with all the other pulpy horror books from that era. But it wasn't. Simmons is a talented writer.

The complaints in the reviews about the book's stereotypes of India and of Calcutta in particular are kind of bizarre. Tell me, what were the slums of Calcutta like in the 1970s and 1980s? Do you know? Perhaps you lived it, in which case, please tell me. I'm sure that there were good areas (as the book carefully describes), but this book is set in the slums of Calcutta specifically.

What stood out to me was the portrait of an ugly American in the midst of immense suffering thinking only of his own comfort - At first. Slowly having his eyes pried open to the way the world works when you live an existence with no power. The phrase violence is power should resonate with people right now for a lot of different reasons. He pays a very heavy price for his ignorance and arrogance. (And I adore his wife for her quiet strength. She's fantastic, even through her anger and his mistakes.) ( )
  authenticjoy | Nov 15, 2020 |
Fascinating read. I couldn’t put it down. It wasn’t as terrifying as I expected, but it is creepy and haunting. With the way the world is now, the refrain “The age of Kali has begun” resonates after reading this book. We just have to remember “there are other voices to be heard....other songs to be sung.” ( )
  LoriFox | Oct 24, 2020 |
Dan Simmons' Song of Kali is one of the creepiest horror books I've read.

American poet Robert Luczak is joined by his Indian wife, Amrita, who hasn't been to India since her father moved his company to London when she was 7, and their baby Victoria Regina on his trip to Calcutta (written in 1985 and taking place in 1976, long before the name change to Kolkata) paid for by a literary magazine to get a manuscript of a brand new epic poem and try to find the poet, M. Das, who's been missing and thought dead for eight years.

They're met at the airport not by who they expect from the university, but by a very slimy, creepy guy, M. T. Krishna, who claims to be from an educational foundation that was contacted by Luczak's former magazine editor. Arriving at night, Luczak instantly hates Krishna and feels oppressed in the heat, dark, humidity and atmosphere of Calcutta, which doesn't get much better.

When trying to arrange to meet Das, the literary foundation hems and haws, stalls and says they can't do it, he's hidden and they don't know where he is, they only receive messages from him.

Even after they agree to give him Das's manuscript they have odd conditions, "you must come alone" that make him suspicious and us suspicious that something strange is happening.

Krishna introduces him one night to a university student who tells him the story of Das, involving his own entry into Calcutta from his tiny village, and his initiation into a secret Kali cult that supposedly rules the city.

The student's story is by far the most frightening and the most vividly drawn part of the book. It's easy to feel the initiate's fear on the night, when he and several other young men enter the temple to see the idol of Kali, fearsome, alive looking, and worst of all, not holding a severed head in her hand, a sure sign that it will by the end of the night.

If only Simmons had worked that out to be the climax of the book, though, it would've been far more intense. After a scene like that, the rest is a bit anticlimactic.

He mixes up a bit of supernatural, dream, hallucination, story telling and reality to leave it nicely ambiguous as to what might have been real and what might have been imagination. ( )
  KevinRubin | Aug 10, 2020 |
I guess I was waiting for more of a climax than the book had. It was a good book. I was just left wanting more to happen. ( )
  JonOwnbey | May 28, 2020 |
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"For HARLAN ELLISON,

who has heard the song,

And for KAREN and JANE,

who are my other voices"
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Some places are too evil to be allowed to exist.
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An American poet travels with his Indian wife and their infant daughter to Calcutta to pick up an epic poem cycle about the goddess Kali. What begins as an exploration of exotic and forbidding India turns into a harrowing descent of steadily mounting terror into the dark underworld of the cult of Kali.

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