Splintered Walls follows the loose format of previous Twelve planets volumes with four stories – 3 shorts and a novella.
They are: Mountain, Creek, Road and Sky. Gemma Files in the book’s introduction says of Warren that:
[she] has the true gift of spell-casting, the sort of deceptively direct, declamatory literary style which says: I simply have to speak a thing, and no matter how odd it may seem in the telling, it is instantly rendered so—solid, actual, honest, real.
And I am not going to argue. I also think that Warren, like Lanagan has given us a collection that is identifiably Australian without belabouring the point. I found each of the settings recognisable, each of them resonated at some level within me.
Mountain tapped into my experiences of driving through the Glasshouse mountains and long road trips with my family, Creek awoke memories of drownings in desert waterholes, Road, flashes of roadside death markers and Sky, well Sky made me look at my small rural community in a entirely new and not altogether comfortable way.
Her “declamatory literary style” makes for stories that you just slip into, they are matter of fact, uncontrived. They could be “your” story until the reveal of course.
In looking back at the three shorter pieces I feel myself questioning which is truly horrific, the supernatural or the very real tragedy that occurs in the mundane? I think it’s the mundane situations in these stories that effect me the most. Once you get past the blood and guts in horror, past the suspense, it’s the empathy with characters, the horror they perform or are at the receiving end of that makes a piece work for me.
If you are into good, understated horror, horror in the everyday, then pick up this collection.
This book was purchased from the wonderful Wizard’s Tower Books.
This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013. Please check out this page for more great writing from Australian women.
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