Monday, August 23, 2010
Lane`s and Moore`s books from Nightjar Press
‘When the Door Closed, It Was Dark’ by Alison Moore
‘Black Country’ by Joel Lane
Nightjar Press, 2010
The next two books from Nightjar Press continue to please fans of small form of fiction (there are not enough books for all fans, though: limited edition is only 200 and 300 copies). In this double both stories turned out to be good evidence that the small prose is alive and well, and one of the stories contains a little surprise.
Lane's prose is more elegant, but it also is required by the story itself. In the "Black Country" a policeman returns to the town where he grew up. The city itself, however, no longer exists: it is gradually deserted, destroyed, until it finally became a suburb. A policeman does not recognize home places: people are not familiar, old houses are gone, everything is absolutely strange. The case itself is quite a trifle, but with strangeness: it all started with a series of unexplained injuries to children - broken fingers, dislocated arms, but no children were not touched, they slept, and woke up already with injuries. Someone entered the newsagent, but except comics, nothing taken. Someone stole toys in a toy shop. Local police in confusion: all rowdy is children obviously, but children are always visible, everyone always knows who was capable of, no even clues. The protagonist seems to know what it was immediately on arrival in the Black Country. But he does not hurry with the investigation: drinking in bars, resting in a hotel, playing the harmonica among other musicians.
Lane in the story is a singer of the town, but the notes of his song are alarming. You can live without the past, rarely remember the past, but the past itself is capable of returning to the man. And often such a return will not be anything good.
The story «When the Door Closed, It Was Dark» by Alison Moore is not about memory but about fear, loneliness and misunderstanding. The beginning of the story is as the seed of Euro-horror: Tina, a maid, not understanding the language, comes to a certain country to work in one of the families. She has first taken care of the child: the boy has no mother, but the family has Father, Uncle and Grandmother. Getting to the house where she will live and work begins with a scene that you are waiting when the story becomes a slasher: the father of the child wrestles a pig out in the bathroom, then ordering the girl to remove bloodstains. The story, however, does not become slasher (and for the better, perhaps), but the goose bumps still will run for a short time while reading the story. Moore’s prose is angular, and this is explainable: such language would be used to tell a story of a person who does not understand the language of others, but trying to catch some words, but mostly read by others.
There is a surprise in this particular story: from Nightjar Press you could wait genre stories, but in «When the Door Closed, It Was Dark» there is nothing supernatural. If the author would give a country, where Tina arrives, the fictional name, the story would have passed into the category of horror, but without specifying any concrete names, the story, in fact, remains realistic. It should still say that it reads nevertheless not even like horror, but rather like a fantasy.
Two more books from Nightjar Press: We look forward to the next portion.