I've read a few books the last few weeks as I was traveling and wanted to share some of the best I've read.
I've known Paul Tremblay since he started writing and I got to say, I am so pleased to see him getting better and better. "Wait," you say. "Head Full of Ghosts was awesome." Yes. And Disappearance at Devils' Rock is better. Not just the story, but the narrative structure. It takes major talent to do what Paul has done-- the way he reveals story. I found myself admiring the style all the way through as well as reveling in the story. This is a must read for anyone who wants suspense... Devil's Rock abounds with suspense. Way to go Paul!
When I finished The Light of Fireflies and realized that it had been translated from Spanish to English, I was blown away. I couldn't tell. The translation was so perfect, the narrative never seemed ESL. It also explains why I'd never heard of the author. All the way through the Fireflies, I was wondering how come I've never read anything by this guy. And that's why. I don't speak Spanish... yet. What's it about? I considered comparing it to VC Andrews Flowers in the Attic, but that would be a disservice to this novel. On the surface the book is about a mostly disfigured family who lives underground, but the narrative runs far deeper than that. This is probably the best book I've read all year and I've read some amazing books thusfar (Experimental Film, Disappearance at Devil's Rock, and Mongrels being three of my highlights).
While at Scares that Care Weekend in Williamsburg, I picked up a copy of John Boden's Jedi Summer with the Magnetic Kid. A narrow chapbook with a terrific cover, it drew me as a fellow child of the 80s. What the book contained were first person narrative slices of a long summer, culminating with the viewing of Return of the Jedi. I liked the story a lot and I loved the little brother feeding invisible dogs. I would have liked to see it be more than vignettes and more of a cohesive narrative. It has the potential to be incredible, sort of a High Fidelity Love Story to the Star Wars 80s. That said, what I read was wonderful.
Husk was a surprise. I hadn't planned on reading it. In fact, it was
foisted on handed to me just as I was leaving Scares That Care Weekend. Husk is written by Rachel Autumn Deering. She, I, and a bunch of others had spent some time together during the convention, especially the night before when she and the Irish tattoo princess Melissa Hayward produced the unscripted and unrecorded impromptu party podcast called Midnight Hamburger. Rather than review this, I'll share the IM I sent her. Now, I don't often IM authors, but because this was her first work of prose (that I know about), and as an old-timer, I wanted to share some literary advice/criticism/love... whichever is generally appropriate.
"This morning, sitting in the sun room of a 200 year old home that rests on a prominence of the Potomac River, still basking in the glow of a super-mega-cool-fucking convention and drinking coffee, I read Husk. I had no expectations, no thoughts to what it was going to be about, nor do I really know you except for Midnight Hamburger (we'll always have Midnight Hamburger), so it was with exceptional delight that I found the novella eminently engaging. Your writing is a glowing example of Kentucky Hollows Gothic and your treatment of PTSD is near on perfect. There were sentences I re-read because of your capacity to sew the perfect words together. I'm not sure if you know it, but the Sci Fi series I'm currently writing for Solaris is all about PTSD. Other than having a bit of it myself, I've been a student of the vicious beast for several years now. You did well in showing and not telling on how it can grip a man and not let go. And then the end... so damned Shakepearian... so damned O'Henryian. The impact was there. If you ever decide to turn this into a novel-length piece, which I think it should be, the impact would be even more as you shore the beach of their relationship, just as he's simultaneously trying to bestill the beast that's on him, be it real, or imaginary. Yes. Husk is great. I can't wait to read what else slithers out of your keen and cool imagination. Be well."
Have you read these? What are your thoughts? If you haven't read these, please do! They are awesome and I wasn't even paid to say so.