As a writer, I’ve always found it most difficult for me to write short stories. I tend to overcomplicate the story with sub-plots and multiple characters and the entire thing gets away from me far too easily. Therefore, I’ve always had an appreciation for those that can write a compelling short work, let alone a collection of them.
Emma J. Gibbon is an author with whom I have a great appreciation for. When she isn’t writing heartrending short tales of darkness and spooky stories about monsters seen and unseen, she can be found at the Topsham library here in Maine, serving as an event coordinator and ardent lover of books. I was able to participate in two book readings there and definitely had fun doing it.
I had heard that Emma would be releasing a collection of stories and watched with much admiration as this book climbed the ladder of horror society and then some. The book was featured on NPR and has since sprung from several horror blogs to others, all with praise for the wonderful stories inside. My opinion is not much different; I loved the whole book.
One thing that I really loved about this collection was that there was a very familiar over arching mood that permeated all of the stories. Regardless of the characters, setting, and story, they all seemed to fit together and that’s what truly makes this a “collection”. Not once did I feel like I was being jarred out of reading the stories because something didn’t fit.
In spite of the overall feeling, each and every one of these stories has its own world that is described picture perfectly with characters that one can quickly identify with. My own personal favorites in this collection are described as such on the back cover: “a black cat that retrieves the dying” in Porch; “monstrous children who must be loved before they return to the sea” in St. Scholastica’s Home for Children of the Sea; a love story in a haunted house in Cellar Door; “a gothic love story to tuberculosis” in Infection, and “secret societies who contract deadly diseases on purpose” in Not the Glutton Club.
All together, there are seventeen deep, dark stories of varying lengths here to enjoy. I recommend a hot beverage, a dark and particularly rainy evening, and perhaps a little mood music with which to enjoy Gibbon’s work. Trust me, it’ll be hard to come up for air.
I’m currently reading N.K. Jemisin’s gorgeous Broken Earth series, starting with The Fifth Season. It’ll probably be a little while before I’ve finished it, so I’m looking forward to posting soon about some teasery goodness to do with my upcoming release, The Wild Dark. Also, what autumnal activities have you all been up to? I’d love to hear. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites soon!
Until next time,