DiscoverMagical Realism

The Truth About Elves


Loved it! 😍

In The Truth About Elves, by Ekta Garg, the hero escapes a disenchanted life as a bartender to work for Santa. Great for holiday misfits.

Reviewer: Vic Peterson


In The Truth About Elves, by Ekta Garg, the hero Curtis Sanders leads a disenchanted life as a bartender from Las Vegas with survivor-trauma from a plane accident. The story takes a mysterious run when we learn Curtis works annual stints in the Arctic Circle for the enigmatic “Mr. C.,” a.k.a., Santa. But working for Santa doesn’t alleviate Curtis’s lassitude. The boss is distant and demanding with rigid expectations and kitschy travel posters on his office wall. The Truth About Elves is a quirky book not easily slotted into a genre. It has elements of magical realism, but it also shares a family resemblance to a fairytale or fable. Pick up this book if you’re in the mood for a tale that will stretch your imagination this holiday season.

The writing is accomplished but felt crowded with adjectives that didn’t make the scene more vivid but less so. The same may be said of adverbs. My suggestion to the author is to weigh words as a poet might. If a detail or descriptive phrase is not necessary, remove it. A reader of this type of fantasy wants only enough mundane facts to frame the narrative and move it along. This advice may have shortened the work by ten percent of the word count, but the subtle impact would lend itself well to a genre in which lyricism is paramount.

On the other hand, the premise is incredibly clever. It is as if Hermey of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer fame, elf, and aspiring dentist, had settled for a dead-end job. Curtis escapes Las Vegas for his yearly shift at the North Pole, toiling in a modern workshop where his elf colleagues prize a new pod-type coffee maker. The plot clips along, including surprise twists and artfully drawn-out reveal about the plane accident. Some gems of observations include, “I had the same solitude here in the Arctic as I had in Las Vegas.” I would have headed for the Arctic Circle, too.

This novella straddles a zone between The Santa Diaries or The Nightmare Before Christmas. Wry humor permeates the storytelling. This is a tale about an elf who is afraid to fly but is essential to Santa’s journey around the globe. I recommend it for those who find themselves misfits during the holiday.

Reviewed by

Vic Peterson was educated at Kenyon College, the University of Texas (Dallas) and the University of Chicago. He worked as a business executive and now divides his time between Lawrence, Kansas and Northport, Michigan. The Berserkers (Hawkwood Books April 2022) is his first novel.

About the author

Since 2005, Ekta has written and edited about everything from healthcare to home improvement to Hindi films. She’s a freelance editor, writing contest judge, book podcaster, and book reviewer. Ekta also manages The Write Edge, posting original short fiction, book reviews, and Instagram posts.. view profile

Published on October 19, 2021

Published by Atmosphere Press

30000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Magical Realism

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