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Parallel Hells

Parallel Hells

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While Craig has filled this book with recognizable horror elements, she seems to be telling us that the most spine-chilling thing is the everyday human experience.

Patronised by London’s precariat, the conversations we witness here needle at entrenched social issues and pick at the political fabric of the city in the pre-election years. It tells two stories side by side (quite literally, as there are two columns of text on the page) and both stories are different experiences of the same environment. My favourite story was definitely the last one but I still just didn't connect as much as I wanted to.The last story, Saplings, was definitely my favourite, along with The Bequest, No Dominion, Hags and Lick the Dust. The characters in the novel are eager to observe others, but refuse to see themselves, even when staring into mirrors. It's fantasy/light horror with a liberal sprinkling of trauma that makes some of the stories highly arresting, some of them sweet and some of them just very good fun. For all their Grand Guignol effects, these are stories worth revisiting for their honesty about love and loss. We watch David as he eventually discovers pornographic photos of the couple: “In the mirror there is a reflection of a fourth man, naked, with an erection, holding the phone that is taking the photos.

The stories are in a very short space of time able to give you this intense burst of emotional connection to characters that are either very human or very intentionally NOT, but allows you to empathise with them all the same. As Luke chases her through the dilapidating mansion, furnished with all the trappings of a distinctly gothic setting, he suddenly feels as though he is being pursued by somebody, and feels the urge to flee himself.Through those concepts, Leon Craig explores identity and queerness as she modernizes the familiar tropes — the satanic ritual is suggested by a character in response to trauma; a father who sacrificed to have a child can’t accept that his son is actually his daughter; the shame-sucking demon is trying to figure out whether or not to be honest about their true self with friends; a haunted book is used to help a student get ahead in their über-competitive doctoral program at Oxford. Hiding in lofts and peeping through cracks in the wall, these are characters moving rodent-like through spaces which are not their own. Her academic work focuses on contemporary trauma literature and theory but her freelance and creative work covers any and all topics, particularly those which deal with the horrors of capitalism and issues of gender and class.

It is such a fresh and playful approach to storytelling that you cannot help but be totally enamoured with Craig’s abilities. It instantly reminded me of Tell Me I'm Worthless but I feel that it felt a lot more gimmicky in this book/didn't work/wasn't necessary for this story whereas in Rumfitt's novel, it complemented the story?She holds her breath and tries to squeeze further along, her left arm outstretched towards the light, such as it is, a glow from the kitchen”.

The short, twisted tales collected in Leon Craig's Parallel Hells have a laconic elegance that's both chilling and pleasurable . Both vibrantly contemporary and decadently gothic, the stories in Parallel Hells shimmer with queer power and wicked humour. Each of the thirteen stories, never overwritten, always sensuous and atmospheric, packs a brief, intense punch. I think the longer stories towards the end were much better, but even so none of them did all that much for me.Offering the reader multiple ways to experience the story tied in well with the content of the tale, so for me was an example of formal experimentation done absolutely right. Irresistibly strange and inventive, Parallel Hells is a collection of dark and delightful stories that blends folklore and gothic horror with a contemporary twist. This is really only for those who think horror is based on apathy, alcohol and drug abuse, sex (including kinky stuff) and a general dislike for any and all people, because aside from the disdain most characters feel for their fellow characters and the horrifying sex scenes, this isn't scary. As a whole, this collection — which is full of sensuous, Gothic-inspired stories — takes familiar concepts in the horror genre (the vampire, the Golem, the haunted house, the cursed books, the demons, the possessions, the satanic rituals, the faeries) and breathes new life into them. As the cast develops, new characters appear in the peripheries of each other’s narratives, but are blurred and distorted.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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