Welcome to Redgunk

William R. Eakin. Lethe, $39 (610p) ISBN 978-1-59021-478-7
Eakin expertly weaves 38 stories set in the fictional town of Redgunk, Miss., written over the past 30 years, into a bizarre and captivating whole. The opening piece, “Lawnmower Moe,” about a man haunted by his ancestors and their powers, quickly sets the tone for the collection, which sees other residents encountering mermaids (“Bob and the Mermaid”) and abducted by aliens (“Encounter in Redgunk”). Some of the stories are darker, such as “The Lizard Queen,” in which Mary Contrary discovers the lengths she is willing to go for control after moving to Redgunk with her drug-addict husband. Others are oddly touching: “Still Man” finds Amy Turner torn between her job as a social worker and the chance to be truly free. Through it all comes the sense of Redgunk as a living, breathing town, and though there’s no ending to its story, the final piece, “Harriet,” about a young girl who disappeared years ago, leaves the reader with a feeling of closure. Eakin’s prose can be long-winded, making some of the characters’ internal monologues difficult to parse, but there’s no denying the appeal of his fascinating, dreamlike world. This will please readers of science fiction and fantasy alike. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/10/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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