cover image Literary Remains

Literary Remains

Ray Russell, PS (, $56 (195p) ISBN 9781848630741

In “Loup-garou,” one of 10 unsettling tales comprising Russell’s second short fiction collection (after Putting the Pieces in Place), a man notices eerie parallels between events in his life and in a werewolf film he is watching. Years later, when he screens the movie again, he discovers that he was either completely mistaken about the similarities he thought he saw—or that parts of his life have themselves shifted shape. This indirect approach to the uncanny characterizes most of the book’s stories, a number of which feature weird, possibly supernaturally engineered role reversals and identity shifts. In “Blue Glow,” a man finds that his new apartment is remodeling his life to match that of the previous tenant. In “Where They Cannot Be Seen,” a pair of lovers discovers that nighttime trysts away from their spouses magically transport them to a room that appears to exist in another dimension. Though some of the tales climax too ambiguously to achieve a genuine frisson, most are competent examples of how effective a subtle approach to the macabre can be. (June)