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Collision: Stories by J. S. Breukelaar

Collision: Stories

by J. S. Breukelaar

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165882,207 (3.67)3



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Showing 5 of 5
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
J. R. Breukelaar’s anthology Collision: Stories was disappointing overall; though I am heavily into weird fiction, the author's writing style falls well outside my comfort zone. These stories are generally written in a choppy and jagged style that I found distracting rather than intriguing. I suppose that it's meant to be jarring and disorienting to evoke unease within the reader, but I found most of these stories difficult to get through, as I prefer narratives with a smoother flow. The author does, however, convey themes of otherness and loss in a heartfelt manner, and I did enjoy a few of the stories: "Union Falls", "Ava Rune", and "War Wounds". ( )
  ghr4 | Jan 14, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
To me this collection falls into the category of "okay." The writing is solid enough, but I found that the genre appeal that I was looking for felt absent, or not there enough to really speak to me in a way I was hoping. That is likely my problem rather than the book's.

I had varying opinions of the stories and, naturally, some I liked better than others. (I will remember Gloria.) On the whole though, I felt that this was riding much closer to general fiction with some subtle oddities going on than something solidly "weird" but again, that varies story to story.

The author adds a short paragraph about the inspiration or thought process behind each story, which I rather like, and I liked the variety in settings and characters, but it did feel a little shy of what I was hoping for. That said, I wouldn't knock this author off of further reading, just perhaps not this collection here. ( )
  WeeTurtle | Nov 24, 2018 |
I’m frequently disappointed with short stories because all too often they can feel unfinished in one way or another, leaving me feeling frustrated and dissatisfied. However, as this collection is being published by Meerkat Press, and as I have never yet been disappointed with anything from publisher Tricia Reeks, I was encouraged to feel optimistic that I would be in for a treat. To my delight, as soon as I read the first story, “Union Falls” (about an armless piano player and full of humour, pathos and a touch of magical “other-worldliness”) I knew that my optimism would be rewarded!
I immediately felt captivated by J.S. Breukelaar’s evocatively descriptive style, her convincing observations of human behaviour and the incisive quality of her dialogue. At times it felt as though her characters, and the worlds they inhabited, were leaping off the page, demanding my full attention. Although each of the stories is very different, what remains constant throughout the collection is the author’s skill in drawing her readers into the fantastical worlds she is describing. Yet these are worlds which, albeit in slightly distorted ways, are often all too easily recognisable, possibly because there is always an element of people struggling to make sense of, and adjust to, the world they are inhabiting. Although there were themes of violence, horror, terror, cruelty and pain, these were offset by unexpected moments of humanity, delight, love and hope. For me, one of the most satisfying aspects of reading these stories was this “unexpected” quality; reading them felt akin to going on a voyage of discovery, with surprises around every corner.
At the end of each story the author adds notes to explain what had inspired it. I really appreciated this because it added a very welcome extra dimension to my reading, allowing an intimate glimpse into her creative thought-processes. Her writing is both bold and elegant, quite an unusual combination but one which she manages with impressive, and enviable, style.
Keith Rosson, the supremely talented illustrator and author, designed the eye-catching cover, which evocatively captures something of the energy and unexpected twists and turns which run through the stories. In addition, his dramatic black and white illustrations, which appear throughout the book, add yet another rich dimension to the power of these stories.
Whatever your favourite fantasy genre – horror, mystical, gothic, magical, science-fiction, dystopian – you will be sure to find it in this remarkable collection, sometimes even merged in one story! Without writing a separate review of each of these tales it’s difficult to do full justice to the quality of this author’s writing, but what it is very easy to do is to urge you to read these haunting, disturbing and thought-provoking stories for yourself. If you enjoy the weird, the quirky and the unexpected, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
With thanks to Meerkat Press for an ARC of this book. ( )
  linda.a. | Nov 19, 2018 |
I thought this collection of macabre short stories would be very fitting for Halloween so I was very pumped to try this author out. I'll admit I wasn't a fan of every story in the collection and I thought some were much stronger than others. I was however a huge fan of the afterword following each short story, which outlined the author's inspiration for each tale. It made me appreciate the stories a little more, even if I didn't love them all. From amputees to aliens to ghostly dogs and vile, monstrous acts; this collection really is all over the place. The writing is unique, lush, and dark; very fitting for all the stories. These aren't tales with happy endings where everything gets wrapped up neatly with a bow at the end. The final and longest story, was definitely my favorite. It felt the most complete and visceral for me; and I could absolutely see it being a movie or season of American Horror Story. It was very chilling and very well written. J.S. Breukelaar is definitely an author to watch out for! ( )
  ecataldi | Oct 15, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I’ve read and enjoyed a number of books published by Meerkat Press, so when LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program noted that there was an ARC available for a new book from that publisher, I leapt at the chance. "Collision: Stories," by J. S. Breukelaar, is a collection of short stories by this very talented young writer; her fiction is difficult to categorize as there are often elements of science fiction, horror, fantasy, urban legend and, well, ordinary life all mixed into one tale. What *is* easy to state is that her prose style is quite visceral at times and quite elegant at other times; she strikes me as a very versatile stylist, which is not as common as one might think. Over the years, I have lost much of my taste for horror, so some of the stories in this volume (“Lion Man,” “War Wounds”) were not fun for me to read, but others, particularly the title novella, “Fairy Tale” (based on a Ray Bradbury story) and “Union Falls” (which features an armless piano player) were quite a joy to read. Another very nice touch to this volume is that the author follows each story with a brief paragraph describing her inspirations for the tale; it’s always nice to get a glimpse into the creative process in that way! I’m not sure when the book is coming out, but it’s definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a lover of “weird” fiction - recommended! ( )
  thefirstalicat | Oct 14, 2018 |
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