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A stuffed bear beats with the rhythm of a dead baby’s heart; a crew on a space mission are dying of exposure to alien dust and at the hands of a killer among them; and a town keeps receding to the east as a man travels back to the father who drove him away.
In these stories, Brian Evenson unsettles us with the everyday and the extraordinary—the terror of living with the knowledge of all we cannot know.
‘Evenson’s fiction is stark and often jaw-droppingly funny…Some of the stories here evoke Kafka, some Poe, some Beckett, some Roald Dahl, and one, a demonic teddy-bear chiller called “BearHeart™” even Stephen King, but Evenson’s deadpan style always estranges them a bit from their models: He tells his odd tales oddly, as if his mouth were dry and the words won’t come out right.’
‘There is not a more intense, prolific or apocalyptic writer of fiction in America than Brian Evenson.’
‘Evenson’s fiction is equal parts obsessive, experimental and violent. It can be soul-shaking.’
‘Brian Evenson is one of the treasures of American story writing, a true successor both to the generation of Coover, Barthelme, Hawkes and Co., but also to Edgar Allan Poe.’
‘One of the most provocative, inventive and talented writers we have working today.’
‘Evenson is interested in philosophy and semiotics, the impossibility of ever truly knowing or naming the world, and our fundamental, helpless dependence on what our senses tell us…[His stories] are a wonderful feat of the uncanny.’
‘Violence is punishing but unbelievably subtle in Evenson’s delicate, minimalist stories. And ultimately, there is something cosmic — something utterly Lovecraftian, but without the baroque language — about this type of horror: Beneath the slippery, often abstruse plots lies a vast gulf of nothingness, in the purest and most unsettling sense of the word.’
‘This new collection, released alongside new editions of three of his older works, offers a great summation of Evenson’s strengths as a writer.’
‘A Collapse of Horses is a stunning collection of disparate tales of existential terror, which could serve as a good introduction to readers who are not familiar with his work. However, allow your reviewer to warn you: once you have read Evenson, you will want to read all of Evenson; yet beware, like most addictions, it is a dangerous pursuit and one not easy to pass through unscathed.’
‘You never realize how deep his fiction has wormed its way into your brain until hours, days, even weeks later, when you’re lying in the dark and Evenson’s images come flooding back, unbidden. A Collapse of Horses will stay with you for a long time…whether you want it to or not.’
‘Brian Evenson is one of the most consistently vital and unnerving voices in writing today…No matter where you start with Evenson’s work, the door is wide ajar, and once you go through it you won’t be coming out.’
‘Evenson’s stories, small masterworks of literary horror, are elegantly tense. They operate in psychological territory, never relying on grossness or slasher silliness to convey their scariness…For the Stephen King fan in the house: an author as capable, if a touch less prolific.’
‘A Collapse of Horses is a master class in unnerving storytelling; seventeen short narratives that range from horror to science fiction and from surrealism to noir. The variety is outstanding, the writing is superb, but what makes this collection deserving of attention is how Evenson manages to achieve a perfect balance between what is on the page and what is left out.’
‘While they run the gamut of genres, these stories all lie in the same orbit of dark gravity: a field of dust, blood, head trauma, inert flesh, semicorporeal stuff and fear– mainly the terror of what we’re capable of.’
‘A collection of 17 powerful and sometimes very weird stories, some of which will send a shiver up the spine of the most well-balanced reader. Brian Evenson has a genuinely original imagination and a strong stomach.’
‘A Collapse of Horses is a masterclass of the horror short story…Many of these tales will likely have readers leaving their lights on well after they put the book down.’
‘Evenson is an American writer who sets out to disturb and unsettle his readers. He certainly succeeds with his latest collection of modern horror stories…All very weird, but somehow Evenson pulls it off.’
‘Stories that will not only unnerve and unsettle you, but also chill you to the bone…The ordinary becomes extraordinary and then terrifying. Shades of Kafka. Shadows of Stephen King. Each story brings a new sense of unease and dread. Horror storytelling at its best.’
‘To a reader unfamiliar with Evenson’s unique cadence of nastiness, his latest collection of short stories, A Collapse of Horses, is the ideal introduction. Evenson moves through the genres—Western, science fiction, childhood reminiscence, ghost story, found document, confession—and finds ways to make them eerier. His open sentences are often striking…attention snagged our expectations are more than fulfilled.’