"Brilliant...Evenson manages to capture madness with a masterful tone. The specific genius o f Fugue Sta te rests in subtlety, in Evenson's ability to maintain suspense, dread and paranoia through utter linguistic control." --Time Out New York "19 satisfying and surreal stories...packed with subtly hilarious sentences."-- Cleveland Plain Dealer "Brian Evenson is one of the treasures of American story writing, a true successor both to the generation of Coover, Barthelme, Hawkes and Co., but also to Edgar Allan Poe."--Jonathan Lethem "The stories in this collection will thrill, unsettle, and captivate. Read more...
Illustrated by graphic novelist Zak Sally, Brian Evenson's hallucinatory and darkly comic stories of paranoia, pursuit, sensory deprivation, amnesia, and retribution rattle the cages of the psyche and peer into the gaping moral chasm that opens when we become estranged from ourselves. From sadistic bosses with secret fears to a woman trapped in a mime's imaginary box, and from a post-apocalyptic misidentified Messiah to unwitting portraitists of the dead, the mind-bending world of this modern-day Edgar Allan Poe exposes the horror contained within our daily lives.
Brian Evenson is the author of the Edgar and International Horror Guild award-nominated novel The Open Curtain. Visit his website at www.brianevenson.com.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 36.
- Review Date: 2009-05-18
- Reviewer: Staff
Evenson (The Open Curtain) accesses dark, unusual facets of human frailty, powerlessness and fear in this collection, haunted by themes of amnesia, aphasia and creeping infirmity. Hecker, the protagonist of O’Henry Prize–winner “Mudder Tongue,” can’t control which words he says and is incapable of expressing even the nature of the problem to his daughter, who thinks he just needs to get out more. A similar terror informs the title story, in which a plague of amnesia afflicts the area where Arnaud lives. The stricken forget their own names, bleed from the eyes and mouth, then lapse into unconsciousness and death. Arnaud catches the illness, and as he makes his way through a landscape of quarantined apartments, looters and corpses, he interacts with the dead and soon-to-be-dead in an effort to try to remember what he is trying to accomplish. Other ailments make cameos—blindness in “Helpful,” insomnia in “Dread”—and the thematic anxiety is heightened by graphic novelist Sally’s foreboding black and white line illustrations. This intense, nightmarish collection captures the fear of night terrors, when one wakes in the middle of the night, unable to move. (July)