This is a remarkable collection of short stories. But it’s not just a mere “collection” of short stories. Though each one of these dark and strange tales can be taken on their own, the book is structured in such a way that each of these stories are interwoven, as if it reads as a short novel with many of the characters who populate the stories have their own strange tales to tell - which then refer back to a previous story, or one story ahead, only to enter the realm of metafiction and circle right back around again. I found this to be a very unique way to present a short story collection and it works - brilliantly.
The title, packaging, and blurb on the cover flap are very misleading though. The cover alone, with it’s title written in slashed knife or razor cuts, it’s beige and ink splattered photo, as well as reading the book’s description could very well give one the impression that this is a collection of horror stories. This is not a collection of horror stories, not by a long shot, but they are dark and surreal and they bring to mind the twisted madness of Edgar Allen Poe and the brilliant experimentation and dream works of Jorge Luis Borges. This is much more Borges than Stephen King or Clive Barker. Borges is really the stamp on this and it’s prose style, for me reminded me very much of Raymond Carver (only Carver never packed the emotional punch many of these stories have). Some of them read like dreams, others twisted slice of life pieces but surrealism dominates many of these stories.
I have no idea why this book was presented in the way it was since it is a brilliant piece of work, very literary and imaginative. This is no collection of genre horror stories here, though if there is any “horror” at all it is that of every day life, those off-kilter and strange moments that send a chill up your spine. These are eleven beautifully written tales which will get to you. Their originality and the unique way it’s structured makes it a wonderful reading experience and I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Read this. Trust me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and you will not forget a lot of these strange, dark, surreal stories. I guarantee it.