Kiernan ranks as one of today's finest practitioners of "the art of disquiet," as Ramsey Campbell notes in his perspicacious afterword to this remarkable collection. Her enigmatic short stories are written in lyrical prose that sweeps the reader completely into strange dark worlds where characters choose to embrace madness over the mundane and nightmares offer guidance as well as fear. Even when subtly alluding to H. P. Lovecraft, as many of these stories do ("So Runs the World Away," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," etc.) Kiernan's voice remains unique. In these evocative tales, bathrooms can transport you to an alien sea ("Onion"), paleontology can lead to damnation ("Valentia"), and even a mud puddle can touch on the unknowable and its terrors ("Standing Water"). The volume's sole original entry, "La Peau Verte," weaves a multiplicity of truths and the attractions of the forbidden into a small masterpiece of mystery. Exquisite interior illustrations by Richard Kirk enhance these 13 "love letters" to Charles Fort, collector of strange and anomalous phenomena.
It's one of the best ways this week could have begun, getting this review. And its coveted star. Also, it's the very first review I've seen of TCF,WL, and hopefully it will set the tone for those to come (though this is arguably the most important of the lot in terms of sales). It even triggered another peculiar smidgen of Hollywood interest (I am quickly learning to ignore these things). Anyway, there it is, and I am very pleased. This book probably means more to me than any other I've published so far.
I have a feeling I won't be getting back to Daughter of Hounds today, if only because there's a number of smaller matters that must be attended to, including an offer regarding a Finnish translation and reprint of "Anamorphosis" and another round of corrections to "Night." Other things, too, and I'll have to get to two sets of signature sheets tomorrow, and I've begun to wonder if I shouldn't read back over all of DoH (for continuity and everything else) before proceeding to Chapter Eight and the beginning of the end of the novel.
And if you're one of the people awaiting the release of Frog Toes and Tentacles, here's something appropriate to make the wait seem a little shorter, or at least occupy you in the meantime — _octopus_. This bit seemed especially apt (thank you, Llar'en):
image by Alessandro Bavari