Saturday, January 13, 2018

Splitter VII

“In the morning we made love, just to reassure ourselves that the passing of my father hadn't broken the gears of the universe, that though the light might look less bright and the angles a little sharper, he had left the world more or less as he'd found it for those who'd survived him.” 
(Kealan Patrick Burke - Midlisters)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Most Disturbing Books II

While on my Kealan Patrick Burke reading spree (that included the wonderful novella 'Sour Candy'), I discovered another book that disturbed me pretty much - albeit differently than 'Blanky' did. It's a novella called 'The Tent', and it's included in a collection of three other novellas (simply called 'The Novellas'):

This collection is the only way to get it on paper, because the novella alone is only available as an ebook

'The Tent' is a scary and repulsive story that somehow hit a nerve with me, and it's about... well, I can't really say anything more about it without spoilers, so let me say at least this: the light and warmth of the eponymous tent might be deceptive.
Burke is able - as always, it seems to me - to draw you in, deeply, and as soon as that happens, you will not get out easily. Some images of this novella will definitely haunt you. His writing style is - again, as always - concise, short, limited to the necessary, yet imaginative and atmospheric. 
Kealan Patrick Burke knows how to really frighten you - which is a rare trait in horror literature these days. And an even rarer trait is to surprise you: you will not know what's really happening until it's too late - for the protagonists. And for you.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Most Disturbing Books I

This is a list of the most disturbing books I have read. And by this I mean works of fiction (short stories, novellas, short novels, novels) that kept me awake at night and left images I remember long after. I am just starting to compile the list, so it will be updated regularly. And of course I am open for recommendations! 

Nathan Ballingrud - The Visible Filth
A deeply unsettling read, almost from the get go. The novella does what good horror fiction (at least in my opinion) should do: Make you feel safe while at the same time slowly pulling the rug away from under you, fiber by fiber, increasingly blurring the line between real and surreal - until you finally see that gaping hole underneath your feet that you are gonna fall into now. Like his  marvelous - and recommendable - short story collection 'North American Lake Monsters', 'The Visible Filth' shows that Nathan Ballingrud is a unique voice in modern horror literature. 

Kealan Patrick Burke - Blanky

What starts as a tragic story of loss, told from the perspective of a grieving father whose daughter has died just months after her birth (no spoiler here, you learn this on the first two pages), soon develops into pure and relentless horror with a deeply psychological and symbolic subtext. Kealan Patrick Burke doesn't say a word too much, and still manages to make his first person narrator almost painfully believable in his sadness, his hope, and ultimately his sheer terror. (Shout-out to Edward Lorn for his recommendation.)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Splitter VI

“History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets.” 
(Yuval Noah Harari - Sapiens)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Splitter V

“Give man a choice between reality and loneliness or fantasy and community, he'll pick having friends every time.” 
(Joe Hill - Rain; in: Strange Weather)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Splitter IV

“Our Society, which seems so sturdily built out of concrete and custom, is just a temporary resting place, a hotel our civilization checked into a couple hundred years ago and must one day check out of. It's an inevitability tourists can't help but realize when visiting Mayan ruins, Egyptian ruins, Roman ruins. How long will it be before someone is visiting American ruins?” 
(Neil Strauss - Emergency)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Splitter III

"The truth was, she hadn't felt much like a cop in a long time. That was a place she never thought she'd get to. Be just like the rest of them after ten years. Angry and drunk. Numb to pretty much everything. That wasn't supposed to be her. But she now knew what they all knew: that the very thing you need to stay strong and keep your head, that daily and deliberate apathy you practice like meditation, is the very thing that, in the end, robs you of your desire to get in the car and catch bad guys. Nobody tells you that, once you put on the armor, you can never take it off." 

(Scott Frank - Shaker)