Song for the Unraveling of the World

Coffee House. Jun. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9781566895484. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781566895569. F
The title story in this collection follows the frantic efforts of a father to find his missing daughter. But is she missing? Does she even exist? Evenson (Immobility) lures readers into each twisted tale by starting not at the beginning, but…somewhere else, creating a sense of disorientation and unease. As each tale unspools and each surreal world clarifies into a malformed sort of logic, the creeps set firmly in. Solitude links many of the stories and serves as a principle source of terror: being alone in outer space, alone in a house with a ghoul, alone in a delusional nightmare. These are contemporary tales of sf, horror, and fantasy told in unpretentious prose yet reminiscent of the heyday of pulps including Weird Tales, home to writers such as H.P. Lovecraft. Indeed, one story, “Lord of the Vats,” even quotes an incantation from Lovecraft’s “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.” The one exception to this unsettling collection is Evenson’s hilarious send-up of the trigger warnings found in today’s college syllabi; beware flaming ghosts and other off-beat literary devices.
VERDICT Readers of literary horror will not want to miss this one.
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