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Poor Souls’ Light: Seven Curious Tales by…
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Poor Souls’ Light: Seven Curious Tales

by Alison Flood

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Recently added byDavid.Manns, niles_desperandum

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This privately published collection of short stories is a limited edition of 500 and is dedicated to the memory of Robert Aickman, a writer of "strange tales". I have to say I was not aware of his work before coming across this book, but I may investigate further on the strength of the stories told here.

Seven Curious Tales they are described as. Seven tales of the strange and supernatural by seven different authors, some of which worked and some of which didn't, in my opinion.

Jenn Ashworth's Dinner For One starts things off and is a chilling tale of a wife's descent into madness after an act of domestic violence. Effective and very well written, this sets out the stall nicely.

Next comes The Spite House by Alison Moore, where a woman returns to her parent's house after their death and takes out years worth of suppressed revenge on the very building itself. Psychologically damaged she too is touched by madness.

In Blossom by Johnny Mains a controlling husband finds that the hospice he deposits his dying wife into isn't all that it seems and ends up paying a high price for his actions. Almost Lovecraftian in its ending this one wasn't quite as striking as the first two stories.

The Exotic Dancer by Tom Fletcher tells of Saladin, a man stalked by a boat and its gigantic captain. It's a collection of disturbing images that somehow don't quite hang together.

Richard Hirst's And The Children Followed, however, is a different kettle of fish. Genuinely disturbing, this creepy, surreal tale of wartime evacuated children and their effect on a woman who's brother has died in battle is one of the best stories here.

Emma Jane Unsworth's Smoke I didn't quite understand. Something to do with medical research in underground bunkers in Germany, it's point was lost on me, despite being well written.

Last we have Animals by M John Harrison, where a woman renting a holiday cottage is haunted by the voices of the couple who used to live there. The effect these unseen ghosts have is dramatic, in the end, and as ever it is superbly written. Worth the price of admission alone.

So, a mixed bag but well worth reading. Such publications may well be the future of publishing. I look forward to other books by Curious Tales. ( )
  David.Manns | Nov 28, 2016 |
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