5 stars and a favorite and highly recommended for historical fiction fans.
I will definitely be reading more from this author
Suspended in Dusk II by Simon Dewar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Seventeen stories that tell of life and death and those happenings inbetween, where change is all but inevitable. Be prepared for horrors of all kinds, some more subtle than others.
(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Grey Matter Press for giving me the opportunity.
First of all, I appreciated the large amount of diversity in this book; from the foreword it became clear that individuals of all shapes of life were given the chance to contribute, and I feel that’s largely absent in anthologies these days. It’s a shame, because nobody, no matter what ethnicity or sexuality or whatever else, should be excluded from such opportunities to expand their craft.
I’ll admit however, this anthology started off as rather weak for me, with stories I didn’t much care for situated right at the beginning. Angeline by Karen Runge was about, what I assumed to be, sexual abuse at a young age and the resulting aftermath in later years, whilst The Sundowners by Damien Angelica Walters focused on the complications of old age, and they were certainly interesting to a degree, but they both fell a bit short. Crying Demon by Alan Baxter made me smile, as I’m a personal fan of horror games, yet whilst it held a great deal of potential, it didn’t make it to the top of the list. Still Life with Natalie by Sarah Read was far too verbose, even for my tastes, and Love is a Cavity I Can’t Stop Touching by Stephen Graham Jones didn’t really include all that much. Yes, cannibalism is one of my most favoured themes, but the story struck me as hollow. The Immortal Dead by J. C. Michael also didn't do much for me - I mean, it wasmwell-written but just a little bland.
Now, let’s get into the stories that made an excellent impression and completely changed my overall thoughts regarding the book.
There’s No Light Between Floors by Paul Tremblay
A man emerges into something catastrophic, where gods freely roam. I feel like this is the one to either love or hate, as it’s left intentionally vague as to what’s actually happening, and it’s that obscurity that might put off a lot of readers. I tried to look at it from a different angle and take events less literal than how they were described by the character. My conclusion and subsequent theory was that his worldly perspective was entirely skewed, perhaps from trauma. I do enjoy tales that hold a deeper meaning, where I need to put my thinking cap on.
That Damned Cat by Nerine Dorman
A cult try to summon A Duke of the Ninth Infernal Circle, yet events take a rather odd turn. This surprised me - I never thought I’d be so entertained and find humour amongst this collection, but Simon Dewar clearly had his head screwed on right, as this in particular was incredibly engaging.
Riptide by Dan Rabarts
Desperate for revenge, a man sets out to hunt down the monster that took his family. I regarded this one as possibly the strongest addition. It introduced me to the taniwha, which compelled me to further read into Māori mythology. It was memorable in the sense that it was a perfect mini-novel, with a start, middle and end that captivated me the whole time.
It occurs to me that this review is already too long, so I'll refrain from writing a ten-page essay. Suffice it to say, the rest of these stories had me hooked, and there was a tremendous amount of variety in tone, atmosphere, and writing. In some, like Dealing in Shadows by Annie Neugebauer, I felt emotion, and in others, such as An Elegy for Childhood Monsters by Gwendolyn Kiste, I experienced a sense of fascination. Seriously, every one offered me something new.
In conclusion: I believe there's something here for everyone to enjoy. Naturally, there were the weaker links, but it was a simple matter of them not being my sort of thing. Those that did appeal to me, really made Suspended in Dusk II worth it.
© Red Lace 2018
After the rained out weekend at the Edinburgh Festival last week, I needed to go back to it yesterday because there was a show I just could not miss: Simon Callow starring in De Profundis, a performance of Oscar Wilde's letter to "Bosie" (Lord Alfred Douglas) which he wrote while infamously imprisoned in Reading Gaol.
I've seen Callow perform before, so I knew this was going to be pretty good. However, this was my first experience of this particular piece and my introduction to De Profundis (which I re-read in full on the train back home), followed by a little research into the letter.
All I'm saying is that Bosie was a little shit.
Back to the performance...I loved it. It was very moving and while there were the typical Wilde puns, the title of the letter truly reflects the tone of it: Wilde's insights into his past relationship with Bosie as well as his reflections on his own character. A Simon Callow very much managed to release that distressed, angry, and yet loving and forgiving soul that Wilde confined to his own words.
Afterwards I saw one other show and went for a stroll, but I was just too occupied by Wilde's letter to really pay much attention to any of the other performances. And with that, this year's Festival is over for me. It was fun to see that the crowds turned out well for the last Festival weekend, tho.
Seriously, check the number of people in the pictures. This is what I mean by the town being "busy" during the festival period:
Anyway, today brought a day full of rain and cold weather so I spent most of the day wrapped in a warm jumper and enjoying books and tea...I came across a lovely little collection of Wilde's shorter stories while wandering around the Book Festival yesterday. (It contains The Canterville Ghost which I have now earmarked for the Ghost square on my Halloween Bingo Card!)
Oh, yes, and because it has turned quite chilly today, I made some soup. :D Nothing fancy, just some very simple vegetable and pasta and veggie pieces (which would obviously work just as well with chicken).
Simon is outed while trying to deal with his best friends' problems, his parents, and his youngest sister.
I liked Simon. His family was weird but likable. The story captured the angst of the teen years. Best friends are not easy to tell especially when jealousy comes along. He is also falling in love with a Tumblr e-mail pal. I liked how social media is portrayed--the good and the bad to the downright ugly.
This is a good beach read. I look forward to more in the series.
I have read a few LGBT books before, I do enjoy them by how its written but missing out Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda when it was first published in 2015, I finally get around reading it. Part of reading this book was because of the movie (which I have yet to watch still, and its not showing in my country) but to get my hands on a hardcover edition, was never a regret moment. It took me a few weeks to finish when it should be just a week but I bid my time to enjoy it, which I did.
There is much to talk about Simon but I am not going to spoil much of it but share my thoughts what I feel towards it. For one - I love the writing. If there is any thing that should be written for a young adult love story, this is it. It feels so natural the exchange dialogue between characters that is real enough for me, I had a great time laughing. The characters are wonderful and memorable. There's Simon, who really is not an open person and afraid if he openly tells people he is gay, his family and friends may not accept him. Leah, Abby & Nick, his closest friends shares their acceptance and arguments with him like friends should be is just lovable and cute. And then of course, the chapters of exchange email letters. It just felt so natural, like peeking into someone's life with interest of course. I mean, we all do that some times. And then, what the main theme is about this book that makes it worth reading - open up ourselves to the world and its not about being open up of being gay, but by who we are opening up to the world of what who we are instead of just pretend to be who we are not. I love the writing of it that really have a good lead towards it, with of course a few mushy lovey-dovey teen drama in it (which is why I dock off one star and giving it a four). In all its worth, I really enjoy it.
To me, people should read this. It has this feel good feeling, the coming-of-age-out-of-open-up young adult book that I would recommend anyone reading it. I am looking forward to reading the next Creekwood book, Leah on then Offbeatafter this. If you haven't read this, please do. This is really a good read.