Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, by Ben Loory
This curio cabinet of fairy tales began as exercises for a class in horror writing, and hovers at the crossroads of surreal dreamscape and everyday human emotion. Like traditional fairy tales, Loory’s words are spare and simple. An octopus, a monster, or a tree can converse with humans as if they were no stranger than some eccentric neighbors. Portals, unexpected abilities, and surprising manifestations are all treated with that fairytale equanimity.
But the fears and desires Loory calls to his stories are most certainly meant for adults. Which is not to say that they’re inappropriate for children, merely that it’s a rare child who could identify with the tales. In a children’s story about consequences, making a Bad Choice leads to danger and death. But these stories speak to the wisps of regret surrounding the choice you never made. How you can become the very thing you feared while you’re busy chasing something else. They’re about the things you didn’t even know to fear until it was too late. They’re also about life’s charms, the beauty and the inexplicability of the world, and love.
You have to hold this collection gently. I recommend you read it not in one gulp, but in tiny sips, to let each slip of distilled dream sink in.
The 213 in 2013 series chronicles every book I read in 2013. Each review contains exactly 213 words, because 2013 words is too long and 2013 characters is too dang short.