Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-03-04
- Reviewer: Staff
Aurora-nominated poet Marshall (Skeleton Leaves) switches to prose with this collection of 15 short stories. The selections explore themes of love and possession, as well as a preoccupation with the past perhaps inspired by Marshall’s academic life as a Ph.D. student in medieval literature. The supernatural remains present throughout, whether in the form of angels ("The Book of Judgment"), ghosts ("Dead White Men"), or metamorphosis ("Holding Pattern"). Some of the tales’ allusions, while clearly important to the author, may be too subtle for casual readers, as when "This Feeling of Flying" hints that some of the characters are Greek gods and "The Book of Judgment" relies on prior knowledge of Jane Austen. Though the collection as a whole is uneven, at times frustratingly ambiguous, and at others wickedly satisfying, it wisely groups the individual stories in increasing order of quality, leaving the best for last. Horror fans should enjoy Marshall’s darkly obsessive tone, and aficionados of canonical literature will appreciate her references, but genre newcomers may feel overwhelmed. (Nov.)