Monday, 26 July 2010
Unpleasant Tales, Brendan Connell
There's not a story in here that wouldn't have been accepted for Dark Horizons in an instant, and taken alone each is rather brilliant. Reviewing the collection as a whole, a formula reveals itself: a character, usually male, is introduced, and then we discover his obsession – music, odour, body piercings, food, plants, tattoos, and so on – and learn about it in some detail, and by the end that obsession has overwhelmed him, usually with deadly consequences. Some stories break away from the formula, but I would recommend taking this collection a story at a time, rather than reading it all at once, to avoid that sense of repetition setting in. It's very well written, full of interesting words, and evidently well-researched throughout, given the level of detail. However, in a very literary book, typos can unfortunately be quite harmful to the overall effect, and there are quite a few here – and as in some other Eibonvale books they grow more frequent as the book draws on. Bobble for bauble and course for coarse stand out, as does "He fed her on a strict diet of deserts". In the end, though, far better to have been able to read this book, typos and all, than not to have read it at all.
Unpleasant Tales, Brendan Connell, Eibonvale, hb/pb, 284pp.