Darkscapes

Anne-Sylvie Salzman, trans. from the French by William Charlton. Tartarus (www.tartaruspress.com), $52.50 (208p) ISBN 978-1-905784-57-8
The15 selections in translator Salzman's first story collection in English are memorable for their depictions of mundane lives disrupted by experiences that range from the marvelous to the macabre. In "Child of Evil Stars," a neurologist's interest in a traveling carnival's female Cyclops blossoms from clinical curiosity into obsessive passion. A hiker wandering the countryside in "Passing Forms" is horrified when he discovers the corpses of animals and people whom he has dreamed of the night before turning up in his daily travels. In "Fox into Lady," a woman inexplicably gives birth to a foxlike creature that gradually overwhelms her life. Salzman shows skill at exposing the troubled psyches of her characters as they grapple with their weird realities, notably in "The Old Towpath" and "Feral," whose heroines are drawn to forbidden locales that provoke dark imaginings. Though explanations are not always forthcoming for these tales' bizarre moments, their mix of strange people and strange incidents will interest readers with a taste for uncanny fiction. (July)
Reviewed on: 09/16/2013
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