Unvarnished Reviews

I know you’re thinking, “You’ve only read five stories since your last post?” Not so. I’ve actually read about fifteen additional pieces out of the collection Varieties of Disturbance by Lydia Davis. Anything I’d have to say about some of those pieces would be longer than the pieces themselves. I don’t think an off-the-cuff review is possible, except with terms like “Damn!” and “Oh, snap!”

These on the other hand…

Jeffrey Thomas, “Immolation” – From The New Weird antho. Very nice crime tale. Lots of phrases I liked, like references to “…some world not yet raped, merely groped.” Another excellent example of world-building, too. 5 out of 5.

Angela Carter, “The Snow Child” – From her collection The Bloody Chamber. I’m not sure how much the praise of her work affected my reading. In any case, I did love this short piece, with the way it slowly disturbs you like a creeping vine that you don’t realize has wrapped itself around your leg until it’s too late. 5 out of 5.

Karen Joy Fowler, “Shimabara” – From her collection Black Glass. You’ll think this story is about one thing and Fowler will turn it around on you. Only to then turn it back around, and unsettle you. Brilliantly done! 5 out of 5!

Jay Lake, “The Lizard of Ooze” – (pdf) Also from The New Weird. Intricate, straightforward plotting and execution. Definitely a lesson in worldbuilding. I didn’t feel too invested in this world, though, or its characters. 3 out of 5.

Karen Joy Fowler, “The Elizabeth Complex” – Also from Black Glass. I really get what she was trying to do here. The story’s clearly about multiple Elizabeths in order to make a universal statement. But Elizabeth I figures so prominently that Fowler’s attempts to weave in various anachronisms just doesn’t work as well as in other pieces I’ve read. 3 out of 5.