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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review: The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All
Author: Laird Barron
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Publishing Date: April 2, 2013
Length: 280 Pages
Editions: Hardcover, (Goodreads says Kindle, too, but don’t see a link yet)
Genre: Short stories, Horror
Source: Publisher via Net Galley

Synopsis: - Over the course of two award-winning collections and a critically acclaimed novel, The Croning, Laird Barron has arisen as one of the strongest and most original literary voices in modern horror and the dark fantastic. Melding supernatural horror with hardboiled noir, espionage, and a scientific backbone, Barron’s stories have garnered critical acclaim and have been reprinted in numerous year’s best anthologies and nominated for multiple awards, including the Crawford, International Horror Guild, Shirley Jackson, Theodore Sturgeon, and World Fantasy awards.

Barron returns with his third collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. Collecting interlinking tales of sublime cosmic horror, including “Blackwood’s Baby”, “The Carrion Gods in Their Heaven”, and “The Men from Porlock”, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All delivers enough spine-chilling horror to satisfy even the most jaded reader. - Goodreads


Each of these short stories is gripping and suspenseful, making this collection very enjoyable to read. A couple of them stood out to me among the others, perhaps not for the horror they evoked, but just from the prose and interactions of the characters. The first of these is the story about the vacationing women at Crescent Lake. Revolving around the Redfield Girls, the women represent different professional backgrounds, diverse experiences, and a range of ages. The tale unfolded in a gripping and riveting away, making me as the reader eager to keep turning the page (or thumbing my kindle) as the historical tale as well as the weekend happenings progress. This is one of those cannot-put-down-til-the-end stories where you are so curious to know what happens, you forego sleep.

The second most memorable story for me was the one that the title of this collection reflects: The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. This story revolves around something that all of us think about, read about, have heard about, and are fearful of at one time or another. These emotions especially evoked as we get older and earnestly wonder about our own immortality or mortality. The tale provokes thoughts on the Dante discussions of levels of purgatory depending on our sins while living life or, in some cases, surviving life; thoughts on whether or not we are already existing in hell, about life here and now and life after.

I feel like a broken record, but this is really a thought-provoking set of tales. What the author’s weaved from his mind is truly amazing and all of it rings “true” and honest. It’s as if Barron is just relating what’s been told as opposed to something he has created. I enjoyed them all and would recommend this to those that like horror and stories that make you think.