Have you ever read a story that is subtly unsettling? A story that dislodges you from an anchored sense of time and place and leaves you feeling fascinated but somehow wrong? This collection is full of stories like that.
These short stories do not present a full-frontal assault. They are sneaky, luring you in before crawling under your skin. Built around the idea of chirality, when something is not identical to its mirror image, this book focuses heavily on scenarios in which reality is obfuscated: dreams, hallucinations, unknown identities. This creates a sense of unease; there is no way of knowing which way is up or what is real. Instead of presenting a story from start to finish, these authors immerse you in their worlds and take you on terrifying journeys through psychosis, medically-induced hazes, mysterious carnivals, and so much more.
My favorite story of the collection, “Need,” blends together several seemingly unrelated but also vaguely disturbing snippets and brings them together with a horrifying collision at the end. Perfectly crafted, this entry stands out from the crowd, but only barely. Other phenomenal highlights include “Brighter Her Aura Grows” – just thinking about it gives me chills – and “Underwater Ferris Wheel,” a beautiful story that plays on both the carnival’s familial and frightening connotations. There are a few lackluster inclusions, but they are rare and, though not to my taste, work well with the rest of the stories.
This is the perfect book for fans of psychological horror, people who like to be truly bothered rather than splashed with blood and gore. Plus, with all proceeds going to Down syndrome charities, buying Chiral Mad positively affects the world before negatively affecting your psyche.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Author||Michael Bailey, editor|
|Page Count||370 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|