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.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Author||Michael Bailey, editor|
|Page Count||370 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|