Rating – 4/5
The Red Grouse Tales by Leslie W P Garland is a unique collection of four spiritual, philosophical, and mysterious novellas tinged with an element of the supernatural. These stories are narrated by a group of people in a local pub.
The Little Dog relays how karma works. Bill, now a retired forester, recounts the strange and disturbing incidents, which involved a cute little dog, that occurred during a week in his early working life.
The Crow is a tale of misunderstanding, and above all, vanity. An old priest on his deathbed narrates the childhood and subsequent ascendancy of a local councilor, and how his involvement in the construction of a dam affected the valley.
The Golden Tup shows the crumbling of paradise bit-by-bit. It chronicles the shocking story of why a young couple murdered their babe.
In The White Hart, Pete Montague regales his audience with his chance encounter with a little albino deer and his subsequent meeting with an enchanting girl in a remote chapel.
Each story in the The Red Grouse Tales is well-written, laden with beautiful imagery, and are hugely atmospheric. All the tales provide lush details of the respective quaint towns they are set in. Leslie W P Garland is a gifted storyteller. He provides distinct voices to the narrator and the different characters in the story.
The Crow is an immersive tale and stresses how vanity can distort one’s perception of reality. Out of all the stories, The Golden Tup was my favorite. The twist at the end was unexpected. The White Hart is another impressive addition to this collection.
I wouldn’t say these stories make for quick reading. It took time for me to get used to the author’s writing style but once I did, these stories were worth reading. The author often indulges into philosophical musings which enhance the stories. With just the hint of the paranormal, they explore the various vices of men. All the stories implore the reader to think about what is right and wrong. Biblical knowledge would help readers appreciate the stories more.
I found The Little Dog to be average. It maybe because this story served as an introduction to the author’s winding writing style. Further, if the novellas were read separately, then the philosophical musings in every story enhance them. However, since they are a part of a collection, all of them sharing the theme of good versus evil, these deliberations dragged the stories a bit.
Nevertheless, I will recommend The Red Grouse Tales by Leslie W P Garland to fans of speculative fiction and to people seeking something different from their usual dose of thrillers/crime fiction.
I reviewed this book for Readers ‘ Favorite.