Just popping in in the midst of doing other things to note that Brit Mandelo has written an absolutely lovely, thoughtful, and quite generous, review of the short fiction from Ideomancer 12.4 (from last December) in which I had a story, “The Last Summer,” alongside works from Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam and A. Merc Rustad.
The review appears as part of Tor.com‘s Short Fiction Spotlight column, which always puts forward fascinating and deliciously intelligent reviews of things, so I’m ecstatic to have a review of my work appear there. And it is a most enjoyable review, well worth reading. For which I am doubly pleased.
I’m also delighted that that story (“The Last Summer”) in particular is getting slightly wider attention. I’m quite fond of it. It’s more overtly fabulist, and closer to mainstream literary, than a good deal of what I write. I began as a writer of literary fiction with fantastical elements, and that’s where my roots lie. And, really, that approach is what underpins most of my work, even when it runs to horror, as it so often does. Especially given that I hold horror writing itself to be a function of realism, which is an argument that those who read this blog regularly will already be familiar with.
And it’s nice to see such a quiet piece taken in stride, evaluated on the basis of its prose, its layering, and its imagery. Brit’s observation that the story being told is not a new one is quite apt. I tend to write primarily small, intimate pieces, often familiar in shape and structure, with the larger stories occurring off canvas, or out of frame, and the focus on the intimacies occurring within used to hold the piece together. Stories about broken characters, or characters breaking. And almost uniformly haunted. By their ghosts, by themselves, by each other.
In many ways, I am much more interested in stories of characters who do not cope, or who cannot. And while that translates into writing a lot of horror (there’s a reason I refer to horror as the literature of failure), it also means writing a lot of work that gets misread as passive, rather than reflective.
So I like it when people appreciate my work for what it is doing, instead of asking why it’s not doing something else. It makes me very happy.