Caitlín R. Kiernan. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $25 (160p) ISBN 1-59606-060-3
Dancy Flammarion, an albino adolescent who speaks to angels and slays monsters in human guise in the backwoods of contemporary Georgia, is the heroine of the five interlocking stories that make up this eerie dark fantasy collection. Kiernan introduced Dancy as an enigmatic waif in her horror opus Threshold (2001) and has since conceived an elaborate cosmology in which the fey girl is one of many human avatars fighting small skirmishes on Earth that have cataclysmic repercussions across planes of reality. In "Les Fleurs Empoisonnées," Dancy is taken captive by a matriarchy of necrophiles whose decaying mansion is a nexus point for perverse and grotesque phenomena. "Bainbridge" interweaves multiple story lines that cut across time and space to show the far-reaching ramifications of Dancy's efforts to exorcise an ancient evil infesting an abandoned church. Kiernan imbues the tales with disquieting gothic imagery and envelops them in rich, evocative prose that conveys cohesiveness beyond their fragmentary plots. (Sept.)
At least, I think that's a pretty good review.
Also, congratulations to Steve Jones and Kim Newman for receiving the Bram Stoker Award in the category of Best Nonfiction for Horror: Another 100 Best Books, for which I wrote an essay on Kathe Koja's novel Skin (1993).
And I neglected to mention that the ToC of Mondo Zombie has robbed me of my middle intitial. Will these indignities never end? I'd just start publishing everything under the name Nar'eth, except then the accent mark denoting the "glottal click" would inevitably get left out, which is surely just as bad.
And because I'm sure that everyone is wondering why the first half of this entry began with that particular Wordsworth quotation, Spooky and I watched Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty in Elia Kazan's Splendor in the Grass (1961) last night. Kazan is one of my very favourite directors, and Spooky had never seen the film before. I want to find out where the film was shot, the scenes at the water fall/waterworks, as it's a place I'd like to visit someday.
Now, I think that I shall go to bed. I've not been sleeping enough. Spooky says that I get the next two days off, as I've worked straight through most of the preceding seven, and now it's time for Gay Pride and her birthday and, yes, sleep.