Monday 14 August 2023

Dream Fox and Other Strange Stories

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Dream Fox and Other Strange Stories' by Rosalie Parker published by Tartarus Press.
Rosalie Parker
Tartarus Press

The humans who inhabit Dream Fox and Other Strange Stories seem destined to test the limitations of rational existence. Some have accidentally strayed into no-man’s land, such as the narrator of ‘Bipolarity’ who must decide how to learn to live (or not) with her mental illness; or the protagonist of ‘Beguiled’ who may be forced by family attitudes into social obscurity; or, in ‘School Trip’, unpromising June’s unexpected discovery of her own ‘special powers’. Other stories, such as ‘Home Comforts’, are more playful, although the uncanny is never far away.

Over the last few years of Wyrd Britain I've had the pleasure of reading a couple of books by Tartarus Press co-publisher Rosalie Parker and have found them to be a wonder of the strange and the sublime and this most recent collection - the first of hers from the publishing house she so expertly oversees - is no different.

In previous reviews I've made mention of how the essences of Rosalie's literary influences are occasionally apparent in her stories which gave them roots in stories past and which showed the vigour that remains in the work of those authors to inspire new and unique creations of such quality but, with the exception of the two stories originally written for a Zagava homage to L.A. Lewis, her stories here, while still springing from the same soil, feel like they come from a more distinctly individual place.

In stories that are as likely to speak of love as they are of loss and of hope as much as of despair and where the strange or the supernatural is often only suggested we find ourselves beguiled by the tantalising glimpses Rosalie allows us into her worlds.  There is an empathetic delicacy to her writing that infuses these stories of place, of love lost and found and of family in it's many and varied forms with a feminine focus that imparts a sinuous and thoughtful subtlety to the underlying frisson of the strange.  


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