Book Review: Inanimates I

I love themed anthologies. I’ve written stories for themed anthologies and I’ve compiled and edited themed anthologies. THE INANIMATES I offers stories from the point of view of, of course, inanimate objects. Who knew a teapot could be so petulant? Editors D. L. Russell and Sharon Black have put together something special. I wear eyeglasses. My eyeglass made it known that I’d better not stop reading this anthology until the last page was devoured: I think you know what I mean. I’ve commented below on some my very favorites from the anthology. Enjoy!

 

 

“Complete”

Amanda Northrup Mays

 

This is easily the best story in the anthology. Amanda Northrup Mays writes a love story like no other I’ve read. The prose is tight and smothering. Point of view starts with first person, then in a very special manner becomes second person and ends in horrific fashion with first person. Mays expertly created tension with subtlety. The gruesome climax arrives like a hammer to the head. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Mays.

 

 

“Behind closed doors”

T. A. Rathke

 

I enjoyed Rathke’s story. I’m not sure which was more evil, Wardrobe or the story’s narrator. And the narrator switches sides at the end of the story, when the little girl gains the upper hand! “Her lips touched his flesh, her breath soft upon him. ‘And to think summer has only begun’.” The narration, quite suffocating, is the star of this story. There’s some violence against children in this story, but certainly not gratuitous. “Behind Closed Doors” was a brave and smart selection for the anthology by Russell.

 

 

“The Recycle of Life”

Frank Dutkiewicz

 

This is excellent work by Dutkiewicz. “The Recycle of Life” fits into the anti-literature genre. Fernando Alegria writes this about anti-literature: “The anti-literature to which I refer is a revolt against a lie accepted socially and venerated instead of reality. The creator who is seen in the act of creation self-analyzes and self-criticizes: discards the false, that which would bring him to perjure the true human condition.” Dutkiewicz manages this with a sense of humor too—perfect for the story’s theme and genre: is there life after death? Eat you peas, dear reader.

 

 

 

 

 

“Whistle Stop”

Robin Van Ek

 

Van Ek manages to write a horror story both brutal and beautiful. Her method of description is excellent from the most mundane to the most horrible: “He smiled and helped her into the long sleeves. The tag scratched her neck,” and “Blood and gin trailed down the green porcelain, disappeared down the drain. Acid seared its pipes. The Motel swallowed” are perfect examples. The prose is taut. Upon first glance, I thought choosing a motel for an inanimate object was a bit lazy but by the end of the story I felt empathy for the Motel. If you read this review before you read the story, pour some wine, put “Hotel California” on to play, sit back and prepare to be brutalized—in a beautiful way. I see Poe’s influence in Ek’s writing—study the female characters. Robin Van Ek has a bright future.

 

“MIRANDA, IN PIECES”

GEOFFREY W. COLE

 

Cole does a brilliant job making madness. His style is as suffocating as the tunnels Miranda must travel: if you enjoy metaphor, this story is for you. Cole’s madness is quite logical, the exact opposite of the persons buried beneath it. Cole’s piece approaches grief and is, therefore, an account of the human condition. To write of the human condition is to create literature. This is classic literary horror. Like Van Ek, I see Poe as an influence in Cole’s writing. A mind fractured is a horrible thing to waste.

 

 

 

James Ward Kirk

 

01/26/2013

 

 

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