Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
How can I communicate the darkness of this book? "Sacs gravid with ochre liquid," "tooth-spangled pinwheel of limbs," or how about "meaty exhalations?" I must admit I don't read much horror but I make an exception for this author. He is truly one of the best.
Unlike the author's previous story collection, North American Lake Monsters, which I always thought centered humanity inside of emotional and fantastical horrors, this story collection takes humans where they should not be (turn back!) The stories contain evil depths and hellish landscapes, with creatures who have traded humanity for power or access or knowledge, or worse - the pleasure of death and destruction. I expect to have carrion angel related nightmares.
I previously read two of these stories in other publications (I own a novella of The Visible Filth and a short story collection that includes The Atlas of Hell.) It was very pleasing to discover how the final story in this collection - The Butcher's Table - connects to The Atlas of Hell. .
And now I need sunlight, some lemonade, maybe a puppy?
You can listen to an older interview with the author on Episode 041 of the Reading Envy Podcast, or look for the film version of The Visible Filth featuring Armie Hammer (and titled "Wounds")
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