The first time I had heard the name ‘Goya’, I had wondered about its meaning and wondered about the kind of stories it would have.

Later, in one of the interviews that the author had given, she mentioned that Goya, an Urdu word, means suspension of disbelief. So, with this meaning swirling in my mind, I picked up Goya, I was ready to follow the author’s instruction of suspension of disbelief through stories.

But once I was through reading the book, there was one part in which I could not suspend this disbelief. How is it possible for one person to write with such variety, be it the story matter, the genre, the time periods or writing styles. That is truly incredible and that is the plus point about Goya. You never know who or what you will encounter as you turn the page.

Priya has written these stories with so much ease and expertise that it feels as if different writers have written the stories. For surely each writer has a favorite genre or time period that they are comfortable with. But here you will find historical fiction sharing pages with science fiction, humor and horror right alongside thriller and paranormal, all trying to grab your attention.

This book is a perfect read for when you want something that takes you away from your daily life. Or when you have sometime in a day to spare and you don’t want to read novels. You can read it in one go or you can savor each story and work up an appetite for the next flavor. There are twenty-seven to choose from.

And that’s why picking my favorite top three is impossible. However, I will list down a few of them.

Kaleidoscope, Neil’s Shoes (this one sent chills down my spine), An Archaic World, I’m II (this sci-fi may just come true in the near future), The Holy Book, Sunset or Sunrise, My Bucket-list (the protagonist is so brave and selfless that you can’t help but admire her).

However, my absolute favorites are –

Murder in the Palace is a whodunit. We get to meet Ahana. She is smart, sharp as a whip and bold. The way Priya has written this story, developing the characters as the story moves along, that with each page a layer is added to these characters and a new facet is revealed. She successfully keeps building the suspense till you are jus about ready to die of curiosity. And you would think she would have done a lot of research for the story, but as it turns out, in another interview she mentioned that she didn’t have to do any research for this one. Her love for reading and just absorbing the world around her shines through this story. And, this story has the potential to be turned into a full fledged novel.

The Second-best Bed is a beautiful and sensitive portrayal of a coming-of-age story of Alec. He’s the Rockstar of his school. But things take a turn for the worse when all around him find out he is gay. The way Priya has worded the story to bring out his anxiety and fear is so touching. And the courage he shows in facing this prejudiced world simply makes you cheer for him. You must read the story to feel those emotions.

And last but not the least is They Hate My Guts, simply because this is not a feel-good story. There is a bad-ass protagonist in this one.

So, all in all this is a great book, like being at a buffet, where you get to sample twenty-seven different dishes. Each is unique and will leave you feeling happy, sad, angry, horrified, or spooked. The stories and the characters will remain with you long after you have finished reading the book.

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