The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan is a collection of stories that defies expectation. You’ll find fantasies to startle and impress the imagination. Horrors to shock and enthrall you. Most importantly, you’ll find a brilliant writer that gives you every detail, no matter how gruesome or grotesque. Kiernan’s talent oozes off the page, forcing itself into your mind, leaving you startled by how skilled one person could be. The stories gave me chills at times, and I was in awe of these strings of words that acted more like spells than stories. It’s a collection to be read and savored.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
A Few of My Favorite Stories
Fairy Tale of Wood Street
Fairy Tale of Wood Street intermixes a regular day with snippets of fairy tale happenings, giving us an account of a woman confused by her reality. Things start to appear that she’s never noticed and, though she tries to go about her regular day, they continue to appear. The day-in-a-life approach creates a modern feel for a fairy tale. There are no explosive reveals or mind-blowing conclusions, just a pair of lovers who learn something strange about each other and move on with their lives.
The Ape’s Wife
The Ape’s Wife invents a complicated web of possible endings for the King Kong story, taking us across time and place to infinite versions of reality. We see the world after Kong’s death, a world where Kong never died, a world where the city is smoldering amidst the ruins of the war. These alternate realities melt together into a stream of possibilities that electrify the reader’s imagination.
In View of Nothing
In View of Nothing is a jolt of adrenaline and originality flowing through language that becomes addicting the longer you savor it. The plot reveals a woman being forced to confess to something amidst a war. It’s not the story but the language that flies off the page. The protagonist’s mind is fractured and her stream of thoughts creates this confusion that’s both frustrating and beautiful. I got chills reading the story, taking in the incredibly vivid imagery and the sheer writing talent.
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