22 December 2011

Shiny Shorts: Lavender and Lychgates

Found in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #22 (ed. Stephen Jones), Lavender and Lychgates by Angela Slatter is definitely a story that should be read at least twice to get full appreciation of something that is both moving and creepy.

It tells the story of a girl finding her place in the world, but it also tells the story of the living coming to terms with the dead (and possibly vice versa) and the old trouble that haunts the family.
There's a dead brother and a restless sister, and an ill timed trip giving blood to his grave. There's a fox-woman who's trying to stir up some revenge and a lost woman who's willing to help from the shadows and all told with an evocative fairy tale quality that easily enchants the reader.

The characters are excellent and the family relationships and interactions both completely real and quite appealing. Oh, and there's a street where 'books are born', which is quite possibly the loveliest bit of city-setting I've ever seen. What with the print shops and paper makers and ink makers and bookshops, is it any wonder that our heroine chooses to take up the book-binding trade?

Now if I can just find an e-book version of the Tartarus Press collection Sourdough & Other Stories that this was originally published in, I'd be a very happy bunny indeed.

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