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Author: L.F. Falconer
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Macabre and sinister, these ten tales vary widely in length (ranging from a few flash fiction vignettes of only a few pages to the comparatively lengthy “The Devil of the Desatoya”. However, what they do all have in common is a disquieting setting that intrigues the reader and pulls you into an unsettling environment that makes even the commonplace occurrences of everyday life take on an aura that pulsates with evil and the disturbed. The points of view that are reflected in the stories are distinctive and range across the ages, starting with the warped mind-set of a seven-year-old boy, whose obsession with cranberries turns into a fixation on “a shimmering red baseball bat”, which he wields with crazed fervour as a weapon of assault on a family pet (“Christmas Cranberries”). Top that with the allegorical figure of Death itself, traditionally fitted with a scythe, which comes to fetch the murderer of a man who was sleeping with his wife (“Death at Jungo”). Although the situations described are quite gritty in nature, the language used to describe the unfolding scenarios does not make excessive use of profanities or obscenities, so that it is not offensive in any way. While some of the tales fringe on science fiction, others make skilful use of the natural environment to heighten the sense of impending doom (for a blending of the two, see the use of the forest in “Sylvan Rain”).
Falconer’s vivid descriptions of an imaginary, haunted and haunting world makes the elements of these tales so tangible and readily accessible that they masterfully encapsulate the vulnerable elements of the human psyche within a microcosm of the broader society. By prefacing the tales with author’s notes, Falconer, as it were, distances herself from the actual contents themselves, so that the stories can be seen to take on a life of their own. By creating a midpoint between herself, as the author of the stories, and her audience in this way, she is able to achieve a triangulation of the text-author-audience, so that the protagonists can all the more clearly be seen as existing in their own right, and having a distinctive voice that is quite separate from her own. This illusion of separateness is a way in which Falconer can relate the madness and weirdness of the narrative, while retaining the objectivity and apparent sanity of the omnipresent, but implicit, creator of such a disturbed universe.
Generally, an impressive collection that is likely to appeal to a wide audience, Through a Broken Window is penned by a Nevadan author who has already done herself proud with “Hope Flies on Broken Wings,” “Hope Rises from the Ashes,” and “Exit Strategy.”
Follow Here To Purchase Through A Broken Window: Ten Dark Tales of the Strange and Deranged