cover image Song for the Unraveling of the World

Song for the Unraveling of the World

Brian Evenson. Coffee House, $16.95 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-1-56689-548-4

In the title tale of this collection, the main character identifies the mood of disorienting uncertainty that pervades all 22 unsettling stories when he ponders a world “that was always threatening to come unraveled around him.” In “Line of Sight,” one of three stories that juxtapose movie make-believe to everyday life, an actor on set is startled to glimpse something peering out at him through “a seam where reality had been imperfectly fused.” The viewpoint characters of “The Glistening World” and “Wanderlust” are disturbed by their paranoid perception that they are being followed by persons with inscrutable motives. “Sisters” is a ghoulish lark about a strange family whose exploration of ordinary Halloween traditions reveals their own Addams Family–like proclivities. Most of these stories are carefully calibrated exercises in ambiguity in which Evenson (Windeye) leaves it unclear how much of the off-kilterness exists outside of the deep-seated pathologies that motivate his characters. His work will hold great appeal for fans of subtly unnerving dark fantasy. (June)