cover image Leave Your Sleep

Leave Your Sleep

Ray Russell. PS Publishing, $32 (248p) ISBN 978-1-84863-325-4

The 12 stories in this stimulating collection offer subtle, unsettling glimpses of skewed realities that frequently challenge the usual criteria for weird fiction. In "The Dress," the niece of a deceased woman finds that a dress in her aunt's wardrobe fits her so perfectly as to suggest that she may be her aunt's reincarnation. "An Unconventional Exorcism" tells of a spirit medium whose claim that she can see ghosts can neither be validated nor disputed. In "A False Impression," the moon-gazing narrator is afforded a jolting "insight into the universe... as though the great and complex mechanism that held everything in its place was briefly, if dimly illuminated," and thereafter cannot shake the disorientation of his cosmic experience. There are few overtly supernatural occurrences in these stories. Rather, Russell (Bloody Baudelaire) shows how events that unfold with the orderliness of the everyday might easily detour down byways of ambiguity and uncertainty and reveal how greatly we overrate the rationality of perceived reality. (Dec.)