My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Swinging back to leave a review for this book, although I finished it a few months back. I think this is a must-have for fans of genre-bending literary short fiction.
The writing is stunning, in a technical sense. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such consistently immaculate execution of craft.
The main reason this is four star rather than five: almost all the stories have no ending. I don’t mean they go on endlessly or anything, because the don’t, and indeed some are very short. What I mean is that they don’t resolve; the stories just stop.
I start each short story, get immediately caught up in the truly excellent microtension and phenomenal eye for authentic detail that Harrison seems to have mastered (and made to look effortless) but after a certain point the story just… abruptly calls it quits, and the next one starts. What happened? What did they decide? Where did the characters go from here?
It’s as if, having crafted an intensely riveting mystery, Harrison wasn’t quite able to provide an explanation at that last gasp to wrap it all up. A few of the stories wrap up in “sequels” later on down the line, but most don’t. It could be this is stylistic, of course. Some readers, I imagine, will take much delight in being left guessing. This reader, however, was left a smidgen frustrated, and so this incredible collection of shorts is relegated to 4 stars only, instead of the 5 that it probably deserves.