• Song of Kali

  • By: Dan Simmons
  • Narrated by: Mark Boyett
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (604 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Blood will curdle in Calcutta. In the most crime-ridden city, nightmares become real and evil is defined by frightening occurrences. When an American family finds themselves encircled by the terrors of this land, lurid events befall them and life takes on a new meaning - death. Winner of the World Fantasy Award, Song of Kali will chill the blood and frighten even the most jaded of horror fans.

©1985 Dan Simmons (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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What listeners say about Song of Kali

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

All Violence is an Exercise in Power

Horror is not my normal territory. It isn't my alternate either. As far as genre fiction goes I probably reach for a horror novel as often as I reach for a fantasy novel. But this is Dan Simmons we are talking about. After reading Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, I was intrigued. How poetic could Simmons make horror? How literate?

I liked the 'Song of Kali'. It was a good story. I'm just not sure I'd count it as great horror. It wasn't that scary. It was definitely more psychological and mental than most. It seemed like a strange mixture of H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King, all with a big glob of Calcutta madness and poetic mysticism.

Anyway, I liked it. I'll keep reading Simmons when I want a vacation from the classics or an escape into literary genre fiction, but I don't think I will need to steel my nerves with any tonics or leave the lights on to go to sleep after I close the book at night. I might, however, rethink vacation plans to Kolkata and West Bengal. Screw THAT.

32 people found this helpful

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Not what I was hoping for

Is there anything you would change about this book?

More gross than scary. If you are looking for a good ghost story, this is not it.

10 people found this helpful

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Truly immersive horror!

Excellent listen! Dan Simmons captures the essence and atmosphere of Calcutta expertly. A truly horrific story that seems more truth than fiction. The fate of a particular character seems pre-ordained simply that that character's inclusion into the story which is my only criticism of the plot.
The narrator is absolutely superb going from American Mid-West, American-New York, to Indian accents with ease.
A definite recommended listen.

9 people found this helpful

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Excellent, atmospheric horror

Simmons practically makes his setting into a major character in this subtle, unsettling novel set in Calcutta, India. Song of Kali is mysterious and though-provoking and like some of the best horror, a bit ambiguous. Simmons doesn't spell everything out for the reader and that works to the novel's benefit. This book is definitely worth a credit and the reading by Mark Boyett is superb.

8 people found this helpful

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Dated, but still good fiction

This is an early work of talented author Dan Simmons set for the most part in Calcutta, India. And it is definitely a horror story. The setting and suspense are very entertaining if you can overcome the voice in the back of your mind wondering why you would ever take a seven month old baby on a trip to Calcutta to find a may be dead poet. That voice will also wonder about some of the other choices the main characters make. Choices that I’m pretty sure I would not have made even back in the 80s. But if you can get over those blocks you have a terrifying good listen.

8 people found this helpful

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Creepy but great!

It was much creepier than a lot of Simmon's work, but I personally thought it was excellent. Not for the faint of heart, however.

6 people found this helpful

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Good narration, compelling story

Boyett does a good job narrating this novel. The novel is less horror, and more about the human condition.

3 people found this helpful

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Troubling depiction, but well written

Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Boyett?

The author did a good job with the material provided and gave many of the characters a unique voice. As such, I would be willing to listen to another book Boyett narrated

Could you see Song of Kali being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

This book could have been adapted to a film in the 80s when the book was written, but I don't know if it stands up well enough to gain a contemporary adaptation

Any additional comments?

One of my biggest issues with the book is how the author reduced a complex figure like the Goddess Kali to a two dimensional Evil B**ch essentially. Also, the differences between Robert's wife (Indian born, but educated in Europe) and some of the Indian characters who had remained in India can be interpreted as favoring colonialism. If neither of these are potentially worrying for you, then you might enjoy this story. There are some genuine moments of terror, and some poignant descriptions of Kolkata in the 1980s. I don't know if I would personally recommend the listen, but with the narrator did a solid job and there are some truly chilling passages. As such, listen if you choose to.

3 people found this helpful

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Grim.

One of the grimmest books I've ever read. The narrator did an excellent job with all the accents. I especially enjoyed the one moment of Punjab/cockney English.

3 people found this helpful

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not his best, but still good

The narrators voice was a little too subdued and mono-toned, but maybe that was the desired effect to compliment this dark story.

3 people found this helpful

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  • jennifer
  • 01-17-15

Song of Kali

What a fantastic story I really enjoyed this booked, when it starts you just know that this story is going to be very dark, and indeed it was, this is a very dark story and I must admit I did not expect the out come a little disturbing but well worth a listen.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Manda N
  • 01-22-19

Simmons first and not his best

A brave journey into a scary Calcutta by the author as his first novel; culturally a stranger and Simmons makes that part of the underlying horror. Fear of the unknown is prominent here; my only reservation is it got somewhat unbelievably crazy and hence only three stars. Worth a listen but his Drood for me currently remains his best although unfortunately not yet available on audible in English.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-04-21

An extraordinary work.

Dan Simmons books continue to completely astound me. Ravenously digestible drama, exquisite poetry, somehow ancient, as if written in another century. Song of Kali is heartbreaking, both utterly real and surreal, uncomfortable and inspiring. It’s not sci-fi or fantasy in my mind, a human story set against an inhumane world. A book that will stay with me forever I suspect.

1 person found this helpful

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  • jo o.
  • 04-21-18

Exotic and terrifying.

This is my first book by Simmons but I am now a big fan.

His discrimination of India is just what I remember from travelling and his mix of detective story, thriller and supernatural tail is addictive. Although the supernatural element may not be as much as you expect this is a truly terrifying story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Artur Olar
  • 02-24-22

Good Introduction to Dan Simmons' Work

A good excuse for describing fascinating indian's traditions and customs. The pacing is good, the writing is beautiful and the delivery is well done. All in all it's worth your money and time!

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  • luke
  • 02-18-22

Not his best work

I’m a big Dan Simmons fan but this I’m afraid to say is poor to my mind. There is virtually no action and when bad things happen nothing gets resolved. Narrator did well with what he had but story was very poor.

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  • Mark Letchford
  • 02-17-22

An intriguing and gripping book

In general I listen to non-fiction or light fiction that I can pick up whenever I have a few minutes. This was one of those rare books that I really couldn’t stop listening to, an intriguing and disturbing tale. I also tend to find an American accent grating to listen after a time, although again this book was an exception.

While this I am sure will not be for everyone I thoroughly enjoyed it. Please

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  • Just
  • 10-10-21

Let Kali Sing...

This is the second Simmons book I've read and will not be the last. Not his best as it is early in his career, it is still worth a read. Vividly described, some grotesque and compelling scenes, and an ending which took me completely by surprise.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-23-21

outstanding

amazing outstanding listen to the book 5 time everytime is better then the previous times

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. J. P. Owens
  • 07-06-21

Not my genre of choice, but Dan Simmons can write

I bought this cheap when it was on sale. Saw Dan Simmons' name and thought I was buying scifi. Turns out it's horror. Not my genre of choice, but Simmons shows he can put a sentence together.

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  • Tezza
  • 07-09-21

Read in two close sessions

This was an intriguing story which kept me glued until the end. Will read more of this author.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-22-20

Slow to start but got good

The narrator was so good I genuinely thought there were at least 2 people doing the voices. The story started slow but once it got going it was quite gripping and even heartbreaking

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  • Jane
  • 09-14-20

Descriptive

Not only could I hear the words but I could smell the heavy mingled scents of Calcutta. The twist and turns of filthy streets merging with the world of ancient gods. Loved it 🌸