Monday, December 12, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Like Scrooge he is mean with money, but he is also mean with his sympathies and his time. He has to swerve to avoid putting money in a charity box and also crosses the road to avoid a family he thinks are probably gypsies on his way to dinner at a cheap cafeteria. An old man sitting nearby looks as if he might be looking for the warmth of some human contact. George refuses to meet his eye and hurries home.
Various slightly odd, even disconcerting things happen. He encounters a nun who looks like an elderly child. He sees a Santa in the window of a department store, who seems to emerge from his Grotto, look confused, and is then surrounded by small elf-like figures who drag him back behind the curtains. Finally, when he arrives back in his apartment the old man from the cafeteria suddenly appears and reveals himself as George's old mentor in trading and in greed. Bill Hill reveals that he is dead and that he has come to give George a warning. He warns George he will have three visitors that night, and then in a flash he disappears.
So it comes about that, as Bill Hill said, George receives three visitors that Christmas Eve, just as Scrooge was visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. But these are not the ghosties and sprites that frightened Dickens's readers. George's visitors are more ambiguous, more frightening to a modern sensibility. They are visitors that will give even today's reader goose bumps.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
As I learned from personal experience movie trailers are not something to take for granted, most of the times the impression left by the movie is quite different from its trailer. I cannot say that I stopped watching movie trailers because of this, but I do not take them as guidance as I used to do at the beginning. However, I have mixed feelings when it comes to book trailers. I didn’t buy any book based on book trailers. Well, actually I did buy one, Ransom Riggs’ “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”, and that proved to be a more than an excellent choice. Like the movie trailers, I do watch any book trailer that falls into my attention, but I watch book trailers also after I read that particular book which is not the case with the movie trailers. Recently I’ve seen a trailer for one of my favorite books of 2011, Marian Coman’s “Fingers and Other Fantastic Stories”, and this is one of the cases of watch/compare/imagine with my personal opinions about the book. I admit that I am not very fond of the book trailer for Marian Coman’s excellent collection of stories. Somehow, I see his book differently and I would have gone with a different approach for this trailer. Considering that in Romania we do not get many book trailers and Marian Coman’s talent deserves any form of publicity (except the negative one, of course) he can get I will salute the apparition of the book trailer. And hopefully, the next trailer for one of Marian Coman’s books will be even better.
Friday, November 11, 2011
My Spanish is nowhere near as good as I would like it to be, but I would absolutely love to get my hands on a copy of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s latest novel, “El Prisionero del Cielo” (The Prisoner of Heaven), in its original language. Especially since it will be released on 17th of November in Spain and I do have to wait a bit longer for a translated edition to read. After the initial release announcement of “El Prisionero del Cielo”, pretty much surrounded by mystery, now we do have a cover art for the new Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s novel and an all too appetizing synopsis. And how can it not be, when the third novel in a scheduled series of four featuring the exciting Cemetery of the Forgotten Books has as main characters the two remarkable heroes of “The Shadow of the Wind”, Daniel Sempere and Fermín (who is one of the most delightful characters of my reading experiences). Here is the synopsis of the novel found on Planeta website in my translation attempt.
Barcelona, 1957. Daniel Sempere and his friend Fermín, the heroes of “The Shadow of the Wind” are back on a new adventure to face the greatest challenge of their lives. Just when everything begins to smile on them, a disturbing character visits the Sempere’s bookshop and threatens to reveal a terrible secret which lay buried for two decades in the dark memory of the city.
To know the truth, Daniel understands that his destiny leads inexorably to a confrontation with the greatest shadows: those that grow inside him. Brimming with intrigue and excitement, “El Prisionero del Cielo” is a masterly novel where the threads of “La Sombra del Viento” (The Shadow of the Wind) and “El Juego del Ángel” (The Angel’s Game) converge through the magic of literature and leads us to the mystery that hides in the heart of the Cemetery of the Forgotten Books.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
“A Capella” by Jonathan S. Pembroke
“The Truth About Mother” by Van Aaron Hughes
“The Web of Legends” by Damien Walters Grintalis
“Reyes Rides the Deville” by Dan Cavallari
“The Heart of the Matter” by Paul L. Bates
“El Diablo de Paseo Grande” by Milo James Fowler
“The Delivery” by A.A. Garrison
“Corporautolysis” by Christopher Slatsky
“Mallecho” by Stephen Willcott
“God of the Kiln” by Eric Francis
“Tied” by D.T. Kastn
“Lady of the Crossroads” by Christine Lucas
“Beneath the Arch of Knives” by James Lecky
“A Pinky Between Friends” by Bartholomew Klick
“Possessed of Talent” by Ayden Parish
“Sweet Heaven in My View” by Frank Stascik
“It’s Not the Boys in This Family That Have to Worry” by Brady Golden
“Kiss of Death” by Jeremy Zimmerman
“Legacy” by SM Williams
“An Unquiet Slumber” by Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein
“A Friend, the Spider” by Caitlin Hoffman
“Destination Unknown” by Anthony J. Rapino
“In One There is Many” by Max Vile
“Incident at the Geometric Church” by David McGillveray
“Black Bush” by Gemma Files
“The Best and Bitt’rest Kiss” by S.K. Gilman
“Visiting Hours” by Josh Strnad
“Sweet Dreams” by Fran Walker
“The Business of Herman Laczko” by Mark Beech
Monday, November 7, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
I have to apologize for the prolonged silence, but the business trip went longer with almost a week than expected. As a result of this long trip the amount of work needed to be done grew too and I am afraid that for a week or two I have to extend my silence.
Monday, October 10, 2011
The list of titles due to be released in 2012 and I wish to read is already growing to an extensive length. One of such titles is Simon Bestwick’s “The Faceless”, his second novel which will be published by Solaris Books on February 2012. I am not very familiar with Simon Bestwick’s works, I read only two of his short stories, but both of them were very much on my liking and therefore I was interested in learning more about “The Faceless” as soon as I heard of its release. All the information found from that point forward fueled my desire to read Simon Bestwick’s novel, which comes with a very interesting premise, a speaking for itself cover artwork and not in the least a recently made teaser for “The Faceless”, discovered through the courtesy of Mark West. I am not much of a fan for book trailers, they tend to leave me cold most of the times, but there are plenty of them which are very good and work their charm, although always in the companionship of more information about the respective title. Such is the case with Simon Bestwick’s “The Faceless” teaser, a trailer that manages to set the mood for the novel in little over 30 seconds.
In the Lanchashire town of Kempforth, people are vanishing. Mist hangs heavy in the streets, and in those mists moved the masked figures the local kids called the Spindly Men. When two-year-old Roseanne Trevor disappears, Detective Chief Inspector Renwick vows to stop at nothing until she finds her. In Manchester, terrifying visions summon TV pyschic Allen Cowell and his sister Vera back to the town they swore they'd left forever. And local historian Anna Mason pieces together a history of cruelty and exploitation almost beyond belief, born out of the horrors of war - while in the decaying corridors and lightless rooms of a long-abandoned hospital above town, something terrible is waiting for them all.
P.S. My work requires my presence on yet another abroad business trip, once again in the hospitable Poland. So, again my blog will be silent for a short while, but I do hope to see you all next week.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
In the recent years the one writer who had the fastest and most tremendous impact on my reading experience is Carlos Ruiz Zafón. “The Shadow of the Wind” was the best novel I read in a long period at the time I finished it and it still remains unbeaten on that position so far. “The Angel’s Game” didn’t rise at the same level as “The Shadow of the Wind” for me, but it still is a wonderful book. This year I caught up with all of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s novels, “Marina” a beautiful and touching novel that lies the foundation for the later “The Shadow of the Wind”, and the catching “The Prince of Mist”, “The Midnight Palace” and “The Watcher in the Shadows”, part of “The Mist Trilogy”. Just in time for the new Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s novel, “El Prisionero del Cielo” (The Prisoner of Heaven, I believe this is the proper translation, but it remains to be seen), due to be released on 17th of November by Planeta. Not much information can be found about “El Prisionero del Cielo” yet, except that the novel is set in Barcelona of the 40s and 50s, features the amazing Cemetery of the Forgotten Books and is the third novel in the series of “The Cemetery of the Forgotten Books”, together with “The Shadow of the Wind”, “The Angel’s Game” and a fourth novel that will complete a scheduled tetralogy. I will be back with more information and the cover of “El Prisionero del Cielo”, the novel that became one of my top reading priorities, when they will be available.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Some of my fondest memories of the school years are about crime and mystery novels (fantasy and horror novels were a very rare species in those particular times in Romania), small paperbacks that were conspiratorially hidden beneath the school books and read while I was supposed to do my homework. Those hard-boiled detectives in search of truth and justice surpassed any mathematical problem that needed its solution or any obligatory reading that had to be made. The reasons for my attraction for those wonderful novels were very simple in the beginning, the covers of those little treasures and the magical Humphrey Bogart in “The Maltese Falcon”. It is an excellent time for nostalgia now, because Angry Robot Books pulled out of its sleeves two amazing covers for the next year releases of Chris F. Holm’s “Dead Harvest” (March 2012) and “The Wrong Goodbye” (November 2012). Two book covers in the classic style that made my school years even better than they were. Actually, as I look more at the Chris F. Holm’s book covers, made by the graphic design studio, Amazing15, more I think that it would be an excellent thing to see more such covers on the market. Not in an excess, but a few more. Thank you, Angry Robot Books, for bringing back some wonderful memories!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Another of the my favorites Romanian speculative fiction writers is Michael Haulică, whose recently released collection of stories, “Povestiri Fantastice” (Fantastic Stories), I finished this summer, but which still waits to be reviewed. Like Marian Coman, whose first appearance on the English market I featured recently, Michael Haulică had a couple of presence on the English marker in the form of a few translated stories, but also had stories translated in French, Danish, Hungarian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Czech. One such appearance is “LAPINS”, a story that can be found online, at the World SF blog. “Povestiri Fantastice” (Fantastic Stories) is available now in electronic format on the UK, US and German Amazon, in the original language for the moment, but it still is one step forward. However, I do hope that there would be other steps to be made and one in particular, the translation of “Povestiri Fantastice” in English. It will be a wonderful thing to happen to Michael Haulică and the Romanian speculative fiction. Until then, for a tiny taste of Michael Haulică’s works, here is the table of contents of “Povestiri Fantastice”, the volume available in electronic format and structured in three sections, reflecting the works of Michael Haulică from his debut until present:
Introduction: Radu Pavel Gheo – “O lume bolnavă” (A sick world)
MADIA MANGALENA (1999) – volume also available on Amazon (UK, US, DE & FR), in Romanian too, but in physical format
“SIHADA” (LAPINS – the story available on the World SF blog)
“Noi, cei cu ochii arşi” (We, those with burned eyes)
“O portocala pe masa” (An orange on the table)
“Jocurile Olimpice ale Războiului” (The Olympic Games of War)
“Mireasma tîrzie a morţii” (The late fragrance of death)
“Sinuciderea din strada Mierlei” (The suicide from Blackbird Street)
“Mufişti, gofreni şi noduri” (Jacks, crimpers and nodes)
“Jucător pe viaţă, indexat la Paladini” (Player for life, indexed by Paladins)
“Cornelia cu sînii goi” (Cornelia with the bare breasts)
“Colecționarul” (The collector)
“Paznic de gînd” (Thought guardian)
“Viermele Perfecţiunii” (The worm of perfection)
“Neverly Hills” (Neverly Hills)
“Motocentaurii dorm singuri” (The motocentaurs sleep alone)
“Madia Mangalena” (Madia Mangalena)
“Hanni, femeia lui Mano” (Hanni, Mano’s woman)
“Full Contact” (Full Contact)
“Singurătatea ploii violete” (The loneliness of the purple rain)
“Ucideţi binefăcătorul!” (Kill the benefactor!)
“Căinţa” (The repentance)
“Ultimul mandate” (The last mandate)
DESPRE SINGURĂTATE ŞI ÎNGERI (2001): (About loneliness and angels)
“În hol” (In the hallway)
“Anotimpul de praf” (The season of dust)
“Lebăda” (The swan)
“Gramatica deasupra oraşului” (The grammar above the city)
“Acela care” (That who)
“Copiii liliacului” (The bat’s children)
“Neguţătorul de vise” (The dreams’ merchant)
AŞTEPTÎND-O PE SARA (2005): (Waiting for Sara)
“Full Contact 2. Nabokov” (Full Contact 2. Nabokov)
“Te iubesc pe 32 de biţi sau O noapte cu Brad Pitt” (I love you on 32 bits or A night with Brad Pitt)
“Pasaj de trecere” (Crossing passage)
“Vremea zăpuşelii” (The time of stuffiness)
Monday, October 3, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Apex Book Company is one of the small publishing houses that are on the front line of quality speculative fiction. Their Apex Magazine is always a source of very good short fiction and for finding new and talented writers, while Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon’s anthology “Dark Faith”, Mari Adkins’ anthology “Harlan County Horrors”, Lavie Tidhar’s collection of world SF “The Apex Book of World SF”, Nate Kenyon’s “Prime” and Gary A. Braunbeck’s “To Each Their Darkness” are the main reasons for me to consider Apex Publications among my favorites. These days Apex Book Company came with a new, very pleasant, surprise for its readers, the birth of a new Apex imprint, Black Room Books. And by the presentation of Black Room Books I do hope that the new born will have a very long and successful life in the publishing world, because it certainly holds plenty of promise:
Black Room is an imprint of parent company Apex Publications. A spin-off, if you will, created to cater to the types of awesome books that don't fit the mold of "commercial", but that still deserve proper attention and publication. Our titles will be the type that leave a mark in your mind long after the last page is finished. We want these books to step up to the boundaries of genre fiction, evoke the names of the great ones, and jump as far as they can.
Already Black Room Books has a few titles prepared for future release, Tim Waggoner’s “Like Death”, Jennifer Pelland’s “Machine”, J.M. McDermott’s “Disintegrations Visions” and the new volume in Lavie Tidhar’s collection of world SF, “The Apex Book of World SF 2”. However, the honor for opening the ceremony goes to Tim Waggoner’s “Like Death”, novel scheduled for release on 25th October and which already has an excellent cover, although it is a very chilling one. Tim Waggoner’s “Like Death” is at its second publication with Black Room Books, after the initial release in 2005 from Leisure Books, but since it was under my radar then and the cover creeps me out I am happy that it sees the light of publishing again.
For more information about all that is prepared on the table of Black Room Books we can visit their website, blackroompub.com. And let’s wish Black Room Books a warm welcome and a long stay in the world of publishing.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Legends and fairy tales are the most important structures in the foundation of my reading experience. Among the stories that made their way onto my reading table at the beginning of my adventure in the fiction world one in particular springs immediately from my memories, a heavy volume of collected world legends and fairy tales. I believe that I still have that volume and although it is battered by time and numerous readings I think I’ll dig it out for a pleasant journey down the memory lane. In time my taste for legends suffered changes, but my love for these particular stories only grew. This is one the reasons for Paul Finch’s anthology, “Terror Tales of the Lake District”, due to be released by Gray Friar Press this month (I believe) made the bells of my interest rang loud. And it is not the only one. The demented clown of Muncaster, the winged horror of Langdale, the drowned bride of Windermere or the nightmares on Burnmoor are offering plenty of reasons for my mind to go wild because of the curiosity inflicted by them. I will add to this a few names that are on the line up of “Terror Tales of the Lake District”, as well as on my favorites list, such as Gary McMahon, Ramsey Campbell, Simon Bestwick, Reggie Oliver and Carole Johnstone (whose stories I recently re-discovered and were more impressive than the first time) and there is no wonder that I already ordered Paul Finch’s anthology.
The Lake District — land of mountains and megaliths, night-black lakes and fathomless woods filled with spectral mist ...
The eerie entity on Striding Edge
The living corpse of Croglin
The demented clown of Muncaster
The winged horror of Langdale
The drowned bride of Windermere
The hairy brute of Beetham
The nightmares on Burnmoor
Chilling tales by Ramsey Campbell, Adam Nevill, Simon Clark, Peter Crowther, Reggie Oliver, Gary McMahon and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.
This wild, mountainous region in northwest England is famous for its towering crags, deep woods and majestic lakes. It is still one of the most popular holiday destinations in the whole of the UK, particularly for climbers, hikers, campers and yachtsmen. But some corners of it are extremely remote and even now in the 21st century remain wreathed in rural mystery and spooky superstition.
This brand new anthology, edited by master of chills, Paul Finch, contains ten works of original horror fiction all set in England's haunting Lake District, and three classic reprints. It also features numerous anecdotal tales concerning true incidents of Lakeland terror which will ensure you'll never regard that scenic part of the world in the same innocent light again.
“Little Mag’s Barrow” by Adam L.G. Nevill
The Mad Clown of Muncaster
“The Coniston Star Mystery” by Simon Clark
The Croglin Vampire
“Devils of Lakeland” by Paul Finch
The Mumps Hall Murders
“The Moraine” by Simon Bestwick
The Tawny Boy
“The Claife Crier” by Carole Johnstone
The Monster of Renwick
“Jewels in the Dust” by Peter Crowther
The Devil’s Hole
“Above the World” by Ramsey Campbell
Nightmares of Burnmoor
“The Jilted Bride of Windermere” by Gary Fry
The Horror at Carlisle Castle
“Walk the Last Mile” by Steven Savile
The Poltergeist of Walla Crag
“Framed” by Peter Bell
“Night of the Crone” by Anna Taborska
The Tortured Souls of Lord’s Rake
“Along Life’s Trail” by Gary McMahon
The Black Hound of Shap
“Striding Edge” by Reggie Oliver
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Before going on the summer holiday I reviewed the first issue of “Arcane Magazine” saying at the time that it would be a shame for this new and interesting magazine to die after its first appearance. Well, unfortunately it did, but fortunately only to be resurrected immediately in a new form. Nathan Shumate, the editor of “Arcane Magazine”, announced the transformation of Arcane, Penny Dreadfuls for the 21st Century from the magazine to an annual anthology series. I would have liked to see more issues of the magazine, but I know that keeping such a publication can be a struggle. Therefore, I am happy that it is not a disappearance into oblivion, but a transformation. And since the first issue, that is now a prelude to the “Arcane” anthology series, was interesting I am looking forward to the first collection of new “Arcane” stories scheduled for release on January 2012.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
One of the books I’ve read on holiday, and I am still reading since I am only half through, is Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall’s anthology, “Scenes from the Second Storey”. The first interesting thing that caught my attention when I first heard about this anthology is that “Scenes from the Second Storey” is a tribute brought by Mark S. Deniz, the founder of Morrigan Books, the publishing house which released the anthology, to The God Machine’s homonym music album. Each story is dedicated to one of the songs on The God Machine’s “Scenes from the Second Storey” track, but since Mark S. Deniz wished for many talented writers to envision those songs in fiction he ended up with more than thirteen authors for his anthology. Therefore the homage brought to the album came in two forms, a first one edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall and featuring an all Australian line-up of writers (which I am currently reading) and a second, international edition, edited by Mark S. Deniz and Sharon Ring. This week, the line-up for the international edition of “Scenes from the Second Storey” was posted on Morrigan Books’ website. It gives me plenty of reasons to look forward to the release of “Scenes from the Second Storey” on 11th November in electronic format and later on in a printed version, but it also makes me wonder, as the anthology’s presentation says, how will the two interpretations in fiction of the same song fare with each other. I am waiting with great anticipation to see how the inevitable comparison will turn out, especially since the bar is set very high due to the impressive and exceptional quality of the stories I’ve read so far in Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall’s Australian edition of “Scenes from the Second Storey”.
Thirteen tales of murder, revenge, betrayal, obsession and desire - your usual fare? Well not when adding the fact that all these stories were inspired by The God Machine’s album of the same name, a concept queried by some before reading the first of these two themed anthologies.
Now comes the second instalment, following on from the Australian authors penning their wonderful versions of The God Machine’s classic tracks to a mix of international authors, commissioned by Morrigan Books to give their take on the songs. How similar are the two written versions to the album’s tracks? Do they capture the essence? You, the reader, can decide for yourselves this November when the international version of Scenes from the Second Storey is released.
“Dream Machine” by Miles Deacon
“She Said” by KV Taylor
“The Blind Man” by Carole Johnstone
“I’ve Seen the Man” by Gary McMahon
“The Desert Song” by Adrienne Jones
“Home” by Shannon Page
“It’s All Over” by Paul Kane
“Temptation” by Pete Kempshall
“Out” by Mike Stone
“Ego” by Gerard Brennan
“Seven” by Joseph D’Lacey
“Purity” by T. A. Moore
“The Piano Song” by Ian Whates
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Today, Bantam Press releases the UK edition of Jasper Kent’s third novel in “The Danilov Quintet” series, “The Third Section”. “The Third Section” is one of the titles I am looking forward to read this year, since I enjoyed a lot “Twelve” and “Thirteen Years Later”, but until I have that chance I am happy to have Jasper Kent as my guest on the blog with the occasion of “The Third Section” UK release day.
The Same – But Different
by Jasper Kent
It’s an answer that many an author must have heard. And the question? It comes after a novel has done reasonably well; a question that every author asks his (or her) editor: What next? The answer – the same, but different – is not plucked from the air. It’s a reflection of the views of the readership. If they wanted exactly the same, they could just read the book again. On the other hand, given that they liked the first book, what interest would they have in something totally different?
The author turns away, his lips intoning the counter-question: How different? He rarely bothers to ask the editor; the answer is obvious: Just different enough.
I think I err more towards the different than the same. As the name suggests, there will be five books in The Danilov Quintet, the last separated from the first by 105 years. If at the end things weren’t different from the beginning, then history would be failing in its duty. But if nothing remained the same, history would be unfathomable.
Just now we’re at the half-way point. From today you can (and should) buy the middle book of the series – The Third Section – and when you hit page 237 (out of 474) you will, in some sense, be exactly at the middle. Temporally, you’ll be a little earlier; 43 years from the beginning, 62 from the end. By the end of the book a conception and a death will have marked the true midpoint for the Danilov family. The first two books had one hero – the last two will have another.
The Third Section has a heroine.
Tamara Valentinovna Komarova, the central character of The Third Section, is the same, and is different. She has the same love of her country as Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov; the same faith towards her friends – often misplaced; the same cunning; the same hatred of the voordalak. But, unlike Aleksei Ivanovich, she is a woman – a woman in imperial Russia. She cannot rely on her physical strength, or even upon the respect of her fellow Russians. To defeat, or even survive, the enemy that Aleksei once faced; she can only fall back on her wits, her beauty and her guile. The problems she faces are the same – or at least similar; her solutions to them are quite, quite new.
Vive, as they must surely say in Russia, la différence.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
But in the desert beyond the Dread Empire: a young victim of the Great War becomes the Deliverer of an eons-forgotten god, chosen to lead the legions of the dead. And the power of his vengeance will make a world's schemes as petty as dust, blown wild in the horror that rides the east wind.
Many of the characters from past volumes take center stage, and the climatic events of this book shake the world of the Dread Empire to its very core, creating A Path to Coldness of Heart.
Far away in Kavelin, Bragia's queen and what remains of his army seek to find and free their king, hampered by the loss or desertion of their best and brightest warriors. Kavelina's spymaster, Michael Trebilcock, is missing in action, as is loyal soldier Aral Dantice. Meanwhile, Dane, Duke of Greyfells, seeks to seize the rule of Kavelin and place the kingdom in his pocket, beginning a new line of succession through Bragia's queen, Dane's cousin Inger. And in the highest peaks of the Dragona's Teeth, in the ancient castle Fangdred, the sorcerer called Varthlokkur uses his arts to spy on the world at large, observing the puppet strings that control kings and empires alike, waiting... For the time of the wrath of kings is almost at hand, and vengeance lies along a path to coldness of heart.
Friday, August 12, 2011
“I am thinking sometimes that I am a chopping machine. A monstrous chopping machine from which, like endless worms, the words are crawling outside. I am a chopping machine, a silent mill that grinds memories, that crashes readings, music and people, I am a chipped mixer that mingles fragments of dusty myths and caught on the fly ideas, I am a neuronal grater that lays on the paper a compact paste in which the smiles of friends, the grins of strangers, the moans of lovers, the morning coffee or the breakfast eaten at noon can still be read.” (Marian Coman – “White Nights, Black Days”)
The quote from Marian Coman’s “White Nights, Black Days” firmly touches autobiography, although it is from a work of fiction. One work of fiction that has a place high on my list of preferences together with the other Marian Coman’s published fiction book, “The Chocolate Testament”. Indeed the compact paste that Marian Coman lays on paper bares strong emotions and touches intimately the reader. It was the same case with his latest short story, “White Butterfly”, a new piece of fiction after two years of pause.
Still, it was the exclusive privilege of the Romanians to enjoy Marian Coman’s wonderful prose and overflowing imagination. Not anymore. Because for the first time Marian Coman’s fiction is available in English. In electronic format for the moment and I do hope that it will have the chance to be released on paper too. “Fingers and Other Fantastic Stories” features four short pieces of fiction, one better than the other. “Fingers”, “The Bathroom Door”, “Unwired” and “Between Walls” are beautiful choices, poised to make a mark on the reader. They left a mark on me. “Fingers” a fantastic story that shows you an image of a childhood spent under the Communist regime led by Nicolae Ceaușescu. The Romanians have different connections with this story and although others readers do not have the same purchase on its background I believe that they would still find its beauty. “The Bathroom Door” has accents of horror, but it is more than that, “Unwired” has elements of science fiction, while “Between Walls” journeys deep within one of the most essential Romanian myths, giving the respective legend a new dimension.
Marian Coman is part of the group of Romanian modern writers who fully deserve to make appearances on the English market and not only there. I am happy to see that Marian Coman made this first step and his fiction is available to a wider audience. And since I said in my review of “White Nights, Black Days” that: “It also made me think that if I had the power I would force Marian Coman to write more. Better still, I would pay him to do it.”, I opted for the later and bought an electronic copy of “Fingers and Other Fantastic Stories” because I know that those are money well spent.
“A flock of collared doves. Of albatrosses and finches that swarm croaking in an inextricable maze. That’s how the whole lot of children seemed to me, see from the balcony of the apartment I’m living in. I looked at them and I felt as if, as small as I saw them from above, I could catch and crush them between my nails like fleas. To hear their shell crack, with that noise of strawberry seeds stuck between the teeth”. (Marian Coman – “Fingers and Other Fantastic Stories) – available on Amazon.com.