Sunday, July 21, 2013

Review: PLOW THE BONES by Douglas F. Warrick

Plow the BonesPLOW THE BONES is a collection of surrealist fiction in short form by Douglas F. Warrick. The limits of his imagery are boundless with many of these stories crossing into the deep confines of dreamscapes and nightmares.

Herein lies poetically depicted madness; a controlled chaos that's both eloquent and alarming. The pages of PLOW THE BONES are breathtaking at times by virtue of a perfect blend of otherworldly fiction and a balanced view of the realistic and macabre nature of humanity.

While I didn't connect with every story there were a number that held my attention: Come to my Arms, my Beamish Boy contains the rambled and disjointed thoughts of an Alzheimer's suffer as his mind deteriorates. Drag is a form of urban legend horror story where a heinous and murderous creature known as Ember Eyes terrorises a group of teens. Her Fathers Collection is haunting, plausible, and entirely disturbing - one of the best.

In Stickhead a zombie-like creature is discovered by a couple of boys. Its as much about the surreal nature of the story as it is the relationship between the tow boys. I liked this one, but it does require the reader to completely suspend their belief. Zen and the Art of Gordon Dratch's Damnation is a graphic depiction of eternal sufferance in the bowels of hell. This is not for the weak of stomach.

The highlight of the collection is Across the Dead Station Desert, Television Girl. An erotic tale of an AI sex worker which blurs the lines between reality and the digitised realm. The setting itself echoes post apocalyptic while the characters draw on desperation and need.

PLOW THE BONES is an acquired taste, yet there is something amongst the stories that will appeal to the majority of readers. The ghosts of this collection will haunt the reader long after the last page has been turned.

Vivid and beautifully written, PLOW THE BONES is a short story collection that captures the imagination and places it in a vice like grip, twisting, distorting, and moulding the reader to its every will.

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