Read All the Names They Used for God: Stories by Anjali Sachdeva Online


A haunting, diverse debut story collection that explores the isolation we experience in the face of the mysterious, often dangerous forces that shape our livesAnjali Sachdeva's debut collection spans centuries, continents, and a diverse set of characters but is united by each character's epic struggle with fate: A workman in Andrew Carnegie's steel mills is irrevocably chaA haunting, diverse debut story collection that explores the isolation we experience in the face of the mysterious, often dangerous forces that shape our livesAnjali Sachdeva's debut collection spans centuries, continents, and a diverse set of characters but is united by each character's epic struggle with fate: A workman in Andrew Carnegie's steel mills is irrevocably changed by the brutal power of the furnaces; a fisherman sets sail into overfished waters and finds a secret obsession from which he can't return; an online date ends with a frightening, inexplicable dissapearance. Her story "Pleiades" was called "a masterpiece" by Dave Eggers. Sachdeva has a talent for creating moving and poignant scenes, following her highly imaginative plots to their logical ends, and depicting how one small miracle can affect everyone in its wake....

Title : All the Names They Used for God: Stories
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780399593000
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

All the Names They Used for God: Stories Reviews

  • Diane S ☔
    2018-10-15 19:18

    3.5 When I am reading s book of short stories, I usually jot down a few details about each story, as a memory aid. I do not, however, look at these notes unless I absolutely have to, rather trying to see how much I remember just from the story titles. A good way for me to gauge how memorable and note Worthy is each story. After finishing this well written collection I am happy to say I remembered quite a few.They run the gamut from the past to the future, each one full of characters trying to escape their fate. Nature, science, religion all themes represented. Loved the first story, The world by Night, the character Sadie and her strange fascination with a cave. Not sure I fully understood the end, but loved getting there, trying on my own interpretation. Enjoyed Robert Greenman and the mermaid, a mermaid story with a twist. The title story is also memorable, two young girls kidnapped by soldiers who discover they have a secret power that serves them years later. My very favorite though was the last one, Pleiades, seven sisters who were born threw scientific experimentation, and the tragedy that ensues.All in all, a marvelous and interesting collection of shorts.ARC from Edelweiss.

  • Maxwell
    2018-10-31 18:57

    Anjali Sachdeva has written a diverse, compelling and strong debut collection of stories. I can't think of any other collection I've read that is this eclectic—there are stories about genetically perfected septuplets, a man with glass lungs, John Milton writing his epic poem, weird blobby aliens who take over earth and witchy women who put men under their spells. It's bizarre and fun and emotional and quite wonderful. I think this would be a great collection for people who don't read short stories that often because there's bound to be one you'll like. And if you like one, you will probably like them all since her writing consistently delivers.I received a copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley, but as always all thoughts & opinions are my own.

  • Marie
    2018-11-09 13:57

    "Wonder and terror meet at the horizon, and we walk the knife-edge between them." These words end the introduction to this powerful, haunting collection of short stories.  Sachdeva explains in her introduction that in old times people knew better than to trust their gods.  "Gods" enter these stories in unexpected, sometimes wondrous and sometimes terrifying ways.   I put "gods" in quotations because what enters into these stories is never called god or what is expected of god, but instead is a force, a magical entity, something otherworldly that is hard to put a name to.Sachdeva's stories take place in many locations around the globe and at many different time periods, some past, others present and one in a horrific dystopian future.  Sometimes this magical presence offers harm or mischief into the character's life and at other times it offers comfort, but most often both occur.  Even when this magical entity is helping the characters out of a horrible situation, there is a terrible flip side to it. For example, the young women kidnapped in Abuja are able to fool their captors by looking into their eyes and hypnotizing them.  They continue to use this skill in their lives as they evade not only their captors, but to their advantage to steal from others.  And on a deeper level, even though they have escaped their captors, they can never return home as the innocent young girls they were.  They have irrevocably changed.  In another story, a newly-wed fisherman becomes enamored of the mermaid he encounters off the coast of Newfoundland.  However, as his enamorment of the mermaid grows, the rest of the world fades in beauty and interest for him.  Now, this mermaid is in love with a giant great white shark and sings to bring fish to the shark so he will be well fed and not wish to eat her.  This makes the fisherman extremely successful when fishing in these parts, however, there is an extremely disturbing development when tropical fish begin to fill their nets.These stories are deep and convoluted.  They force the reader to ponder serious questions.  There are dark mysterious forces at work within these stories, but such ethereal beauty as well.  I thought these stories were incredibly well conceived and executed.  There is something unnerving and unsettling about them that touches upon something real that is hard to put into words.  The title is so appropriate because there is so much we cannot quite perfectly describe but feel, and many ascribe it to Gods or higher being.  I would highly recommend reading this!Thank you to netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  • Char
    2018-10-17 16:12

    ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD is a collection of short literary fiction stories, the last two of which were absolutely brilliant. The tales in this book are all over the place, but I think it's all the different facets of humanity that link them all together. No two stories here are even remotely alike and I enjoyed that diversity. Among my favorites were: LOGGING LAKE which involved a strange happening at an ill advised campsite.ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD which was a heartbreaking story of two young girls who were kidnapped and forever changed by it. ROBERT GREENMAN AND THE MERMAID: Once we glimpse something fantastic,(in the true sense of the word), it is very difficult to let it go. MANUS was probably my favorite story here. After so many tales involving ordinary life, here's one that is totally out of left field. Gripping, poignant, and so creative-I'll never look at a human hand in the same way again.And finally, PLEIADES. I don't even know what to say about this story. It's powerful, beautifully written and well told. I doubt anyone could read it and remain unmoved. I liked the tales in this collection, but until the last two I didn't feel that this volume was anything special. MANUS and PLEIADES elevated this book to something really special in my eyes, and I highly recommend this book to fans of literary and speculative fiction.*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the free e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.* **Also, thanks to my fellow book blogger Cody for turning me on to this collection. You can find his excellent reviews here: **

  • Cody | codysbookshelf
    2018-11-13 15:22

    Release Date:02.20.18All the Names They Used for God, Anjali Sachdeva’s debut release, is a stellar collection of short stories that explores the strangeness that is the human experience and our small stature in the vastness of the cosmos. Rewards abound for the short story lover: science gone awry in “Pleiades”; abandonment and love gone wrong in “Anything You Might Want”; man versus wild (and the call of suicide) in “Logging Lake.” These are intricate, spinning tales that took me off guard. Does this collection have a theme? I don’t know. Perhaps spirituality is the link (and there is the title to be considered); these stories do ponder the concept of a God and how much say he — or it — has over our lives . . . and how much of what happens to us is pure chance. Bits of magical realism abound (see mermaid tale “Robert Greenman and the Mermaid”), but overall these tales are unwavering, realistic looks at the human condition. I was pleasantly surprised by these stories. I suspected I would like this collection, but I was knocked for a loop. Compelling and challenging in equal measure, this author is one to watch. I await her next release with baited breath. Thanks to Netgalley and Spiegal & Grau for the advanced reader’s copy!

  • Dave
    2018-10-27 17:56

    The stories set out in this collection are loosely connected by otherworldly moods, inspired by bits of magic, and soft dream-filled prose. The scenes visualized here range from a pioneer woman seeking adventure in underground caves, fishermen bewitched by mermaids, a future where aliens replace our hands with metal appendages, an ode to schoolgirls in Africa captured by jihadists, a cold miner’s daughter on the prowl, and a wild, vivacious spirited woman who disappears as the wolves howl. Thank you to the publishing house for a copy for review.

  • Martie Nees Record
    2018-10-24 14:09

    Genre: Literary FictionPublisher: Random HousePub.Date: February 20, 201835082451Possible SpoilersWith this title, I was expecting a novel about the horrors that have been committed in the name of God, such as the Spanish Inquisition. But the title is misleading. The stories are more about the concept of how we see God or any power that can change our lives. This stellar collection is exploring humanity’s strangeness. The stories read as ominous and compelling fiction that I would call magical realism. The author, Anjali Sachdeva, is ridiculously creative in writing unusual and dark tales. After each story, I thought “How bizarre.” Still, after each story, I felt that the author hit a nerve, making the plot acceptable, even moving.The title story presents stirring images of Nigerian schoolgirls who are kidnapped by jihadists. The story goes back and forth between the time they are abducted till they are adult women. It is so darn sad. As adults, they gain some sort of mystical power over the men who abducted them and they are no longer being abused. But it is too late. They have been beaten and raped too many times over the years. They no longer feel human. It leaves the reader wondering what is left when one survives the un-survivable. This story made me simultaneously think: Is surviving even worth it when the cost is that you lose your soul? And, hoping that in real life, battered women are able to find a way to leave their abusers and still keep their human core.Dave Eggers, who wrote the best selling non-fiction “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” said Sachdeva’s short story “Pleiades” is “a masterpiece.” Indeed, it is one of my favorites in this collection of heartbreaking stories. This one is about a couple who are geneticists. Ignoring the protesters holding signs that read “Seven Deadly Sins” and “Frankenstein’s Children,” they produce seven test-tube sisters that grow to become loving and inseparable. Unfortunately, over their childhood, teens, and womanhood they are all ill-fated. Making the reader either hate or sympathize with the grieving parents. I kept going back and forth thinking that they were thoughtless parents-to-be, thinking only of their careers. Then to wondering that they were no different from other loving parents-to-be who also happened to be trailblazing scientists.In “Robert Greenman and the Mermaid,” there is a fisherman, a mermaid, and a shark. Of course, the fisherman is bewitched by the mermaid. What makes this story so original is the shark. The mermaid loves to watch the big fish feed on its prey. She feels that the shark represents all that is beautiful in the deep sea. The fisherman wants nothing more than to escape or kill the twenty-foot long hunter. It is a sweet sad story leaving you to ponder why humans are so afraid of anything different from themselves.The story that creeped me out the most and haunts me still is “Manus.” In this story, aliens replace human hands with metal appendages. This neatly sums up this story, but without producing the Heebie Jeebies feeling. The aliens are called The Masters. The story begins with a couple looking at their neighbor when he is opening his mail and begins to cry. He’s just received his draft card. In this story, getting a draft card means that within two weeks, you must go for an “Exchange Apparatus,” known to humans as the “Forker.” For the surgery, the human holds out their hands and inserts them into pneumatic cuffs that shut around their wrists. After removing, the hands are replaced with metal fingers that look like forks. Ugh. When it is time for the man in the couple to be forked, I actually wept for him. When it is his girlfriend’s turn, she rebels. She does not get forked. However, to keep her body metal free she self-mutilates. Leaving her body just as gross (I won’t explain more so you can be just as shocked as I was) as if she was forked, shades of the title story, was it worth it?Sachdeva is clearly talented in her craft. I usually do not care for the genre magical realism, but this author makes me realize that the genre is about the human condition and how we are conditioned to feel. I so enjoyed the book, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which I am now guessing is magical realism. I suspect this reviewer must examine the genre more carefully. Nevertheless, there are other stories in the collection also showing the damaging results of abusive power. All the stories in this collection have a unique and thought-provoking prose. Just know that she also writes like Rod Serling on an acid trip.I received this novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.Find all my book reviews at:Leave Me Alone I am Reading & Reviewing: Martie’s Book Reviews:

  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    2018-11-04 19:58

    via my blog:'We didn’t know yet that for us there was no such thing as just sadness, that our grief had a life of its own, an invisible mouth like a black hole that drew us inexorably closer.'This debut collection is tender, dark, at times bizarre, and compelling. My absolute favorite is Pleiades, and the story has remained with me for days. I wish the author would use her magic and turn the story about the daughters of geneticists, the sisters so terribly alike and ill fated and turn it into a full novel. But that’s just me being greedy, I can only hope she has a full novel knocking about in her brain, ready to give birth to that I can devour one day. It somehow tickled and horrified me, broke my heart and then kicked my spirit some more. All the stories in the collection are clever and strange. I keep imagining my fingers as forks. I also stepped into the shoes of a wealthy girl, hungry to get the hell out and fall in bad love. In Logging Lake, it’s the terror of disappearances and never knowing. It’s eerie, the unknown is a black hole, it’s a madness, it’s the question that can never be solved. In Glass Lung a worker in Carnegie’s steel mill is injured in a freak accident that alters he and his daughter Effie’s future.There is the hunt for something amazing, and the terror of everything you’ve done, all the sacrifice amounting to nothing. It’s angels as muses, a girl as white as snow burying her dead parents, who finds a husband despite her cursed looks and then descends into a secret dark place beneath the surface of her land. The stories are unusual, and at times there is something ominous threatening just in the periphery of the characters vision. It’s terrible, and lovely. This is an author I’ll be watching, hoping for a full novel! Add it to your reading list for 2018!Publication Date: February 20, 2018Random HouseSpiegel & Grau

  • Jill
    2018-11-11 12:16

    Interesting and dreamlike yet still somehow left me wanting more (even for short stories). The author clearly is tremendously talented, and there are scenes from several of the stories that will stay with me.

  • Zak
    2018-10-18 18:21

    Utterly captivating collection of short stories in diverse settings. Haunting and surreal. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Favourites are 'The World by Night', 'Glass-Lung', 'Robert Geenan and the Mermaid', 'Manus' and 'Pleiades'. Bravo!Final rating: 4.5*

  • Jaclyn
    2018-10-24 13:15

    (Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review)This collection provided everything I look for in a short story: a world that draws me in at once, and a character who takes me on a journey. With each story, we experience a transformation. The writing is what I'd call speculative fiction, but it's incredibly seamless. Every world the author creates feels like it could exist alongside our own. Sometimes the story's place in time is clear (e.g. Carnegie's steel mills). Sometimes it feels like it could be pre-industrial or post-apocalyptic.Most of all, though, each story stands on its own as a complete journey. While there seems to be a trend toward vignettes and character sketches in modern short fiction, I found these stories refreshing. No story ends on too neat and tidy a note, but neither are we left feeling like we haven't traveled anywhere. Each story hits the perfect balance with pacing, plot, and character arc. A delight to read.

  • Anneke
    2018-10-25 11:57

    Book Review: All the Names They Used for God: Stories by Anjali Sachdeva, 10/15/17Publisher: Spiegel & Grau To Be Pulished: February 20, 2018I received a free pre-publication copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. An extraordinary collection of stories. I’d call them speculative fiction or imaginary realism. I found them highly readable. But also out of the realm of the ordinary, very unusual, creative and powerful. She has published in many literary reviews but this is her first book. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writing Program. I look forward to more from her and I highly, highly recommend this book.

  • Emily May
    2018-10-16 13:53

    Over the past few months, I've picked up a number of short story collections and this one happens to be one of the least memorable. There are only nine stories in All the Names They Used for God but several made me think "huh?" and not a single one really stood out to me. I can almost always pick out at least one or two gems in a collection but all left me fairly cold here.It's somewhat odd that these stories were lumped together into a collection at all. There's nothing really tying them together - no overarching theme or link that unites them. Instead, they are a series of strange, dreamy snapshots of completely different times and places. One story follows a man post-breakup, as he goes on a wilderness retreat date with someone new; another, "Glass Lung", follows a Danish man after he inhales glass shards during a steel mill incident and, rendered disabled and hardly able to speak, later finds himself uncovering a hidden tomb in Egypt.To say the stories are random would be an understatement. I also really understand the use of "dreamlike" and "dreamy" to describe this collection. In fact, they do sort of all feel like dream sequences and, like when someone else feels the need to share their weird dreams with you, they didn’t feel real or tense or emotional. I did not feel drawn into any of the worlds or compelled to care about any of the characters. Some of the concepts were interesting, but a story must be more than its concept to impress me. If you're looking for hard-hitting, emotional short stories, try What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky instead.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  • tyto
    2018-10-24 12:58

    I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.A really good, affecting collection of short stories. I think my favorite stories in the collection were All the Name for God, Manus, and Pleiades. However, there wasn't a story that I didn't like, which is really rare for me with short story collections. The writing is really wonderful, and some of the stories will leave you thinking about them long after you're finished with them. This is really a great collection - highly recommended!

  • Krystal
    2018-10-30 18:58

    This debut collection of stories delve into the often unexplained elements that come together to make up individual lives, from the extra-terrestrial to the glory of reproductive technology!

  • Jess
    2018-10-13 20:07

    Well, color me impressed. This was such a wonderful debut collection! Though I didn’t love all the stories equally, the entire collection held my interest the whole time, which is more than I can say for most collections that I read. Sachdeva has such control over her prose, which is vivid and dreamy, but not excessively so. Plus, there’s such a diversity of stories here in terms of character and setting and subject matter, but they're all so tonally and thematically resonant that none seem out of place. There are strange caves and mermaids and angels and glass lungs, tales about dystopia and genetic engineering and witchcraft; I’m pretty sure anyone who reads this would enjoy at least one of these stories.My favorites were “Killer of Kings,” “Robert Greenman and the Mermaid,” and “Pleiades,” but “Manus” also blew my mind a bit. That being said, I found all of the stories here very interesting, except perhaps “Anything You Might Want” which I consider the least memorable of the bunch. I often find that in a collection there are more stories I felt were “meh” than stories that compelled me, so this really is a feat.The one criticism I have isn't a major one, but I wish there was more diversity in terms of relationships focused on. In nearly every story (except for one or two) there was some sort of romantic element between a man and a woman, which I didn’t always think was necessary. For example, the last story is about the relationship between seven identical sisters, and at the end an unnecessary romance was thrown it that I felt detracted from the emotional center of the story. Romance was definitely never the focus of any of these stories, don’t get me wrong, but I did close the book feeling like a chance to diversify in that realm was missed.Still, this was truly a great collection that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone who likes short stories or even just fiction that’s not afraid to get a bit weird.

  • Book Pairings (Laci Long)
    2018-10-27 14:58

    “Wonder and terror meet at the horizon, and we walk the knife-edge between them.” These are the words you are left with at the end of the introduction to this stunning collection of short stories. In the introduction Sachdeva explains her inspiration for the collection deriving from how people in the past knew better than to trust their “gods”. Notice gods is in quotations. In these stories there are no traditional gods. There are otherworldly forces and magical entities that act upon the characters in these stories. These stories take place all across the globe and during different time periods; past, present, and future. The magical entities that enter these people’s lives offer both harm and comfort. There is usually a balance of good and bad within each situation. Every action elicits a consequence. I found these stories to be delightful in their ethereal quality. You could easily categorize these stories as magical realism or speculative fiction, both of which are favorite genres of mine. I loved that I felt a little unnerved throughout the entire collection. It’s hard to put into words why I felt that way, but I enjoy books that elicit those emotions and make you think. I can definitely see myself rereading this collection in the near future because I enjoyed it so much.

  • Ana
    2018-10-22 12:01

    Inspired by recent historical events, like the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by the extremist group Boko Haram, in “All the Names for God”, where the supernatural twist isn’t quite enough to help the protagonists find their peace; to an unsettling future, in “Manus”, where aliens have conquered Earth forcing humans to have their hands replaced by metal appendages with a device called ‘Forker’; to a couple of egotistical geneticists, husband and wife, set to prove that science can achieve anything most spectacularly by producing in vitro septuplets sisters, in “Pleiades”; Anjali Sachdeva’s stories take the reader on a journey across continents and across time. Some of them are slow to start, others grip you from the very first sentences, such as “Killer of Kings”, with its eerie opening line: “The angel sits at John’s bedside, a quill in her hand that may well be one of her own feathers.” If you’re wondering what’s the deal with the “God” in the title and how it related to each story individually, think Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, where the old gods/beliefs of the immigrants coming to America are replaced by the new ones born out of humans' obsessions with media, technology and celebrity. For a debut short story collection, All the Names They Used for God has quite a few gems!3.5 stars

  • Melissa
    2018-10-31 14:18

    Lordt, y’all, this small story collection is face-meltingly good. The stories all turn on the juxtaposition of the real with the fantastical, one-click off from traditional fairy tales in feel. I got a little brain-tickle as each one reminded me very subtly of an older tale but without retelling any one in particular. “Killer of Kings” is flat-out gorgeous, “All the Names Used for God” is quietly mind-blowing, and the final story “Pleiades” is devastating. Another outstanding collection from an Iowa Writers’ Workshop alum.

  • Anna
    2018-10-20 12:10

    I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.One of my favorite short story collections that I have read in awhile. This is the first time where every single story made me sit back and think. I kept waiting for there to be a clunker, but that never happened. Quite rare not just for a debut, but short story collection in itself. If I had to pick, the titular story would probably be the one that resonates with me the most, but with such an abundance of riches, it's really hard to say.The stories themselves are pretty eclectic. There's a slight magical realism bend on the majority of them and they tend to be a bit melancholy, but they range from everything from backpacking to aliens to mermaids to girls abducted by Boko Haram. The one thing that I'd say for all of them is that they're incredibly well written.Honestly, there's not much else to say less I want to gush more. It's a well curated collection and well worth a read.

  • Ann
    2018-11-10 16:07

    All The Names They Used for God is a collection of nine short stories that is as satisfying as it is diverse. Sachdeva is an excellent storyteller. I was completely engrossed in each and every story in this collection. There really isn’t one story that I would categorize as “meh,” in this collection. They’re all pretty darn spectacularEach story spotlights characters who subtly search for a sense of meaning in their lives through industry, science, history, nature, psychology, and human relationships: World By Night- An albino young woman finds connection in the tunnels and caves underneath the prairies of her home. Glass-Lung- A Danish immigrant is transformed by an incident at Carnegie’s steel mills and in an ancient Egyptian artifact. Probably one of my favorites in this collection. Logging Lake- Robert, accused of not being adventurous enough by his ex-girlfriend, finds his life is changed on a hike with a date at Montana’s Glacier National Park.Killer of Kings- John Milton’s muse is an angel Probably my least favorite here; maybe the fact I haven’t read Paradise Lost affected my opinion. All The Names They used for God- Nigerian girls kidnapped by rebels who had “stopped waiting for anyone to come save us” practice the art of persuasion on their captors. Vividly told. Made me feel like I was there. Robert Greenman and the Mermaid- a fisherman looks at his ordinary life differently after an encounter with a mermaid at sea. Anything You Might Want- A teen girl from a small town escapes her domineering and connected father through a relationship. Focuses on what one clings to for strength and security and the conflict between both. Manus- a man and his friends find a way to dodge “the draft”. This story is the only one that is science fiction. Although not my favorite genre, Sachdeva has a way of blending the bizarre with the mundane that is stunning. Plieades- Another exceptional story of septuplets whose demise is likely linked to what brought them into this world. We are going to be hearing about this book in 2018. Trust me. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this exceptional collection.

  • Rubal
    2018-10-30 12:09

    3.5The World by Night - 3Glass-Lung - 3.5Logging Lake - 3Killer of Kings -3.5All the Names for God - 4Robert Greenman and the Mermaid - 4Anything You Might Want - 3Manus - 2.5Pleiades - 3.5a solid collection. but a few stories were let down by their endings, imo. felt like they were supposed to be a part of a bigger narrative and that there's more to the story.

  • Ashlee
    2018-10-19 19:55

    All the Names They Used for God is a collection of stories that take you around the world into people’s lives. Through breakups, kidnapping, and out to sea, Sachdeva’s stories have a wide arching range of context. In fact, the stories seem to have no connection at all on the surface. Looking a little deeper, you’ll find the connections within the characters and their will. What are you willing to sacrifice or how far are you willing to go to get what you want?It takes a special kind of author to weave such depth into short stories. Sachdeva did a marvelous job bringing her characters to life, giving them depth, and providing a reader with enough information engross a reader into each story. I felt as if I was apart of each story and found that the endings left me wanting more. These stories have stuck with me, even after finishing each. I have found myself thinking about the characters, their fate, and contemplating what has happened to them long after their chapter was written. *Full Review can be found at

  • Allison Parker
    2018-10-21 20:10

    Could it be? Do I..... LOVE SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS? This is a recent development for me.Or maybe I just love Sachdeva's lovely and strange stories, written with great clarity and flow. She's got a real talent for storytelling, its pacing and structure and imagery, and what's more, she's got IDEAS. Terrific ones. Ideas that feel ancient and contemporary simultaneously. Ideas about people responding to their environments, full of mystery, darkness, and wonder: A woman with light sensitivity finds a new sense of belonging lost in caves. An ambitious man finds his life halted by an explosion of vaporized glass. A poet sees something more human than angel in the divine muse sent to assist him.A young woman, one of septuplets born from genetic engineering, is haunted by her eventual demise as her sisters die one by one. I devoured this collection, and am looking forward to reading more from Sachdeva.

  • Wit & Wonder Books
    2018-10-29 13:07

    ** ARC provided by the author for an honest review **All the Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva delivers an eclectic group of stories.Each story in this collection deals with fate and different takes on God(s). From many different places and times (there is even a dystopian future) these stories each contain a magical presence. Something otherworldly that is hard to grasp but offers help that often has the reader questioning if help is what the characters received.Mysterious and deep, Sachdeva’s stories will make you think and question without any concrete answers. This is a collection based on the human experience in a not so human way. Five stars.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-25 18:00

    Powerful, imaginative and fable-like stories masterfully woven and masterfully told. Although I devoured in a sitting, it feels I haven't stepped out of her visual, swirling worlds.

  • Kelsey
    2018-10-24 15:21

    I don't think I've ever read a collection of short stories that are so diverse, so compelling, and so beautifully and independently crafted. Each story in this collection is its own world, and immersing myself in them was a delight- I couldn't stop telling friends about all the different stories I'd read. Sachdeva incorporates magical realism, religious mythology, science, and history, and weaves them all into stories that transport you fully to the lives of the characters.These tales span time and space, from an albino woman on the prairie during the 19th century, to a depiction of John Milton writing his famous epic, to a near future time when humans can be scientifically created (and suffer the consequences). My favorite story was probably Glass-Lung, about a man disabled by an explosion of tiny shards of glass who ends up in Egypt with his daughter and her archaeologist boss/suitor, searching for a new tomb.Sachdeva treats her characters with empathy but also with a shrewd knowledge of their inner thoughts- they seem human, imperfect, and sometimes selfish, with failings like we all do at times. They exist in worlds that seem so real, and the world-building here is wonderfully done. Transportive and poignant, this is a marvelous debut and I can't wait to see what Sachdeva writes next.Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • RMazin
    2018-10-18 16:00

    Sachdeva has written well-crafted stories than span the globe, time and genres of myth and fantasy. Each of her stories begin with a seemingly straight-forward event that becomes stranger as the pages turn. In Killer of Things, the poet John Milton has an uneasy relationship with his muse on the way to Paradise Lost. In World by Night, Sadie, an abandoned frontier wife, has a longing for her absentee husband that darkens her future. In All the Names for God, a kidnapped girl of Boko Haram takes a journey into a life that could be salvaged / re-imagined. Robert Greenman and the Mermaid shows what happens when the inner voice becomes the reality. In Pleiades, genetic manipulation takes a toll and gives insight into the meaning of life. The stories are seemingly bound by the isolation of each main character. Well-written, sometimes unsettling, the author creates a unique universe for a reader to explore/discuss. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this title.

  • Sara Diane
    2018-11-12 13:58

    I got this from NetGalley to preview.If I could give partial stars, this one would get 3.5 to 3.75...but I just can't give it 4. I love short stories, and I'm all about speculative fiction, yet somehow, these stories just didn't jive with me. One or two left me wondering what on earth, one or two just were weird, and none of them really sparkled. However, the writing is clean, and they were interesting, for the most part. I'm not sure I would have put these stories together into a collection--the thread tying them together is frayed, at best, but that's my humble opinion. Sachdeva has some talent, and I might pick up future work, but I won't be re-reading this collection. If you like stories that are a bit off in left field, try these.

  • Stephanie
    2018-10-20 14:55

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for a digital ARC of this book. This book is a collection of short stories written by the author. There really is no mention of God in the book, but what the stories all have in common is that they all have to do with what we would call "fate." Of course, as a Christian, I would attribute "fate" to God's plan for a life. The stories are all fairly short and interesting. They remind me of some of the short stories of O.Henry or the famous short story, "The Monkey's Paw." They all have somewhat surprising endings. I enjoyed many of the stories.