cover image Furnace


Livia Llewellyn. Word Horde, $14.99 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-1-939905-17-8

Llewellyn's second short story collection (after Engines of Desire) showcases her assured writing with compelling and involving tales of horror, often concerning the particular horrors of being female. Llewellyn skillfully incorporates Lovecraft, science fantasy, and classic Greek and Celtic mythology into fresh new narratives. "In the Court of King Cupressaceae, 1982," original to the collection, displays her talent for folding the deeply weird into contemporary culture as college student Severin tests the boundaries of her connection to the world of the fey. Other standouts are "It Feels Better Biting Down," a stellar exploration of the relationship shared by uncanny twins that's full of lush language and an unnerving use of pronouns, and "The Last, Clean, Bright Summer," chronicling unhappy teens unwillingly accompanying their family to the seaside. Her descriptives can sometimes be repetitive when the stories are read close together, but Llewellyn's lush vocabulary and sense of place combine with her ability to imbue her characters with distinctive voices and make her a notable contributor to the field. (Feb.)