A Child of Wight by A.R. Kahler

I‘ll be the first one to admit that this was a surprising read. Having read much of A.R. Kahler’s body of work, A Child of Wight has a very different tone than his other work. It is sparse, and quiet, and grey, evoking the Edward Gorey books I have loved since my admittedly macabre childhood.

Sparse and quiet and grey are not words usually used to describe either the man himself or his writing. And yet, here we are. Time for something new, something oddly restrained. But for a story about death, and dying, and coming up short of expectations, it works. It works beautifully.

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How’s Your Sister? by Anne Goodwin

Cancer is a brutal beast, but this story isn’t about cancer. It’s about something stranger, something more dangerous to name than cancer. So cancer it is, as the family tries to explain what happened to their daughter, to their sister. Why Emily is now in a wheelchair.

Back when we had cable, I used to watch the National Geographic Channel almost compulsively (along with BBC America). In particular, there was one show that I enjoyed beyond all the rest, mostly because of how weird it was: Taboo. And there was quite a bit of backlash when, in 2012, they aired a segment on a fake paraplegic. Continue reading…

Young Berries by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Russia occupies a very precarious place in my life. My partner was born in the Soviet Union and lived through its collapse and then the rebirth of the motherland. One of my closest friends currently lives there. I’ve written screenplays set there. I’ve attempted to learn Russian at least three times with varying success.

There’s also a breadth of Russian literature. Dostoyevsky. Tolstoy. Chekhov. Gogol. Gorky. Yesenin. Tolstoy again. Nabokov. Etc. Etc. What strikes me is they are all men and all giants. But what of Petrushevskaya? Is the problem that she’s alive? Or is it that her work was officially censored for the first 50-or-so years? Both?

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Love Song of the Lizard Boy by Delilah S. Dawson

You know how it goes; it’s a story older than time. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and then they have a million eggs together because they’re actually lizard people. Oh, that’s not how that usually goes? Well crap.

That’s actually how it goes in Delilah S. Dawson’s Love Song of the Lizard Boy, which is set in her Blud universe. And don’t worry if you haven’t actually read any of the books in that universe, because neither have I and I still managed to enjoy these lizards. I can also happily report that there is no obnoxious cliff-hanger forcing you to buy any of those books either if you don’t want to. Which, now that I think about it, I’m kind of tempted to now.

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