Friday 20 March 2015

In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair by Cate Gardner | review by Stephen Theaker

In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair (The Alchemy Press, ebook, 784ll) is an interesting novella by Cate Gardner, but the tone is a bit hard to describe. There are horrific elements, but it isn’t really horror. Comic horror fantasy, maybe? Weird fantasy? Kathleen Fair is in a room of objects that are too big for her – like a dressing table stool which comes up to her nose – but this isn’t a new development. She’s been here a while. What’s new is a mirror, through which she sees “a bloodshot eye pressed against the glass, its lashes long and spider-like”, before a man comes through: Frederick Schentenfreude III, who drains people of their scent in order to keep himself young. He will later decide that he wishes to marry Kathleen. She follows him out of the mirror, and sees the body of a boy, Bobby, that Schentenfreude has drained. She makes it her mission to restore him. I found it difficult to get a handle on this story; I’m not sure what it was aiming for, or whether it achieved it, which makes this rather a useless review. But I enjoyed reading it, and look forward to reading more from the same author. ***

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