cover image Strange Tales: Tartarus Press at 30

Strange Tales: Tartarus Press at 30

Edited by Rosalie Parker. Tartarus, $35 (284p) ISBN 978-1-912586-27-1

Tartarus Press celebrates its 30th anniversary with this elegant anthology of 18 surreal and otherworldly stories. Notable tales include the gorgeous “Tell Me, Whacher, Is It Winter?” by N.A. Sulway, about a woman’s peculiar memories of her grandmother; “The Women” by Tom Heaton, a haunting tale in which the narrator witnesses disturbing manifestations; and “These Pale and Fragile Shells” by John Linwood Grant, about a strange chalk artist creating work filled with discord and contempt. Every story pays meticulous attention to detail and scene-setting, though some suffer from overwrought prose: in “What It Says,” Ibrahim R. Ineke describes, for instance, the sky as “The near-black indigo expanse over the earthly blot of dulled-ochre.” The focus on language over plot makes this more suited to fans of the literary fantastic than those looking for a quick fix. These formally beautiful stories showcase the best of Tartarus Press and are ones to savor. (Nov.)