Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Damage

Rosalie Parker - Damage (PS Publishing)
Rosalie Parker
PS Publishing

Each of the stories that make up Damage represent a new take on the theme of difference and strangeness in human life. There are elements of traditional horror, fantasy and the supernatural, but also of beauty, humour, compassion and love.
Damage explores the fragility of life and love and how they can sometimes survive against the odds, despite the damage that is done to them. 

Rosalie Parker is the co-publisher of Tartarus Press (along with her partner Ray Russell), the editor of their regular anthology series 'Strange Tales' and the author of three collections of short stories, two from Swan River Press and this one from PS.  I've only ever read one of her stories before and have long been intrigued to read more.

The overall impression I got from the book is that Rosalie is definitely the co-publisher of Tartarus Press as throughout I kept flashing on various writers that they have championed over the years such as Robert Aickman, A.E. Coppard, Arthur Machen (of course) and others.  Now I say that to show that her writing shares a kinship with those not to imply any sort of unoriginality.  Like Aickman the strangeness in Parker's stories is normalised within the events or makes a sudden and decisive apprearance. Like Coppard there is a love of the rural and the bucolic, a hankering for the wild spaces and like Machen there often seems a bleed through from elsewhere, of thin places where the natural and the un-natural coexist.

The stories are fleeting and focussed never taking any longer than they need to tell their tale although I was left occasionally wishing they would linger slightly longer and tell a wider story.  Her writing is neat and sparse and the specificity of her prose allows her tales to unfold at an easy unhurried pace that made the book a joy to read

Damage is available at the link above and also from their much cheaper clearance site here which is where I bought mine from.  Be aware though I've read that some people have reported that the copies they received were damaged in some way but the three books I bought were pristine.

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