Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Garden Fed by Lightning by Marshall Moore - Book Review

Marshall Moore's short fiction is propelled by a scathing wit and a dark imagination, and he does not shy away from taking readers down roads that are less traveled and rarely even mapped. In the title story, a con man cons a beguiling con artist... or does he? In "Grape Night," a new arrival in Hong Kong enjoys the pleasures and terrors of a wine-tasting party with visiting gods from the Greek pantheon. In "Underground," the minotaurs who secretly control urban life welcome a new member of their bloodthirsty elite. And in "Cambodia," a country's genocidal past and its cosmopolitan present collide atop a ruined temple. In A Garden Fed by Lightning, as in his two previous short-story collections, Moore spans multiple genres of fiction and subverts them all.

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My Review
A Garden Fed by Lightning is a fascinating collection of short stories ranging from only slightly odd to full-blown horror. There's definitely a story that will appeal to everyone.

There were a few stories that I felt a little indifferent about. They were good, and there was nothing wrong with them, but they didn't give me the same "oomph" of emotion I got from certain other stories.

I also am having a hard time figuring out my absolute favorite. Fetch, the very first story, was really well-done. It was strange and exciting, and I kind of wish I had my own little doggy in the corner of my computer screen, assisting me in some not-so-normal ways.

Underground is probably the most terrifying, for me at least, because minotaurs are scary as all get out. I've always been afraid of strange things as a kid: sheep, goat, deer. Minotaurs sort of have that vibe going on, and the thought of coming face-to-face with one and realizing the horrifying truth behind why they're in your city is

There were also a couple of stories — A Balloon Party and The Platinum Scalpel Society — that made me go, "Uh...what just happened?" That's a good thing, by the way. Those stories are crazy and fascinating.

Overall, I really enjoyed A Garden Fed by Lightning, and I would definitely read more by this author. Especially short stories, as I am a sucker for a really well-done short horror story. It's why I prefer Stephen King's anthologies over his actual novels.

If you're a reader looking for something different, but in the same vein as Stephen King's short stories, check out Marshall Moore. This may have been my first book by him, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Author Bio
Marshall Moore is the author of several books: The Concrete Sky (Haworth Press, 2003); Black Shapes in a Darkened Room (Suspect Thoughts Press, 2004); An Ideal for Living (Lethe Press, 2010); The Infernal Republic (Signal 8 Press, 2012); Bitter Orange (Signal 8 Press, 2013); and A Garden Fed by Lightning (Signal 8 Press, 2016). He has also published two e-chapbooks. One is in Italian: Il look del diavolo (Signal 8 Press, 2011); it contains translations of three of his short stories. The other is in English: Never Turn Away (Signal 8 Press, 2013). This is a sampler containing excerpts and stories from the first four books plus the first chapter of Bitter Orange. (It's also free.) With Xu Xi, Moore is the co-editor of The Queen of Statue Square: New Short Fiction from Hong Kong (Nottingham: Critical, Cultural & Communications Press, 2014). A collection of his short stories (Sagome nere) was published in Italian, by 96, rue de-la-Fontaine Edizioni, in 2017. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University in Wales and teaches at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

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