Friday, January 20, 2012

Horror Stories FOR Boys - Rachel Kendall

Despite a series of powerful and caustic flashbacks spurred by the discovery of an anthology in his childhood home, Gary, the story’s anguished, melancholic protagonist, reluctantly decides to make the two hundred mile drive to visit his dying father in hospital. Perhaps due to the main character’s first name, I was reminded in moments of the writing of Gary McMahon, particularly in its unflinching honest portrayals of often grim existences. Rachel Kendall’s writing voice is her own however, and the power in the story lies in the hard and bitter decisions that Gary has to make, but you have to read the tale to find out exactly what those choices are.


In “Horror Stories for Boys” Rachel Kendall presents a powerful story of a man suffering from migraines who must visit his dying father and face an abusive past. The author managed to make me feel that bitter-sweetness of nostalgia – even though the past evoked isn’t mine – and although light on plot, this is mature and emotional writing. Of a similar calibre is “Midnight Flight” by Joel Lane about an old man losing his memory, searching for a book he recalls from childhood. Both these tales satisfy with very brittle emotions and atmopshere.

-------------------- excellent examination of the consequences of childhood trauma.


Horror Stories For Boys by Rachel Kendall revisits an abusive childhood and the escape offered by a much loved book, it’s a rich and emotionally powerful story.


Horror Stories For Boys, by Rachel Kendall, has Gary a migraine sufferer having to make a journey to visit his dying dad, a journey that throws up old memories, and decisions that Gary must make. This is a grim and melancholic story that works very well.


“Horror Stories for Boys” by Rachel Kendall is a gloomy tale of hate and pain, featuring a man visiting his dying father and bringing back grim childhood memories.


"The emotions are keenly felt,..." (Black Static #25 - TTA Press)


At the heart of this story is a rather implausible incident, but Ms Kendall writes so nicely we have to forgive her. A story firmly rooted in reality, and the banal everyday horrors of troubled families everywhere. She just pushes it a little further and skews the point of view enough to make this a compelling read.


Rachel Kendall’s “Horror Stories For Boys” shows no restraint in revealing the brutality of an abusive father and the traumatic effects of his up-bringing on the son who returns to his childhood home to remember, with the aid of a book of horror stories, and rekindle his hatred of his father. But it’s the final scene, as he visits his dying father in hospital which carries the full sting of this powerful narrative. This is a story full of light and darkness and a terrifying realism.

Any further reviews after 20 Jan 12 will appear in the comments below.

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