Saturday, June 30, 2012

Windeye, by Brian Evenson

Windeye is a collection of short horror stories by Brian Evenson.  Most of the stories are quite short, 10 pages or less, but no less powerful for their brevity.  In many ways, I think it takes more skill to write a complete, self-contained and satisfying story in so few words.  Brian Evenson has this skill in abundance.

These are not ghost or vampire or zombie stories.  Nor are they even bump-in-the night stories.  These are stories that worm their way into your subconscious and fill you with a sense of dread and disquiet.  They contain ideas that take root and become more horrifying the longer you contemplate them.  Evenson skillfully makes use of the natural fear that exists in the unknown, both external and internal.  What you can’t see or understand is much more frightening than what you can.

I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, as might be expected in any short story collection.  All were very well written and often produced strong reactions.  Think a blend of Edgar Allen Poe and The Twilight Zone.  I didn’t consume the stories all in one sitting.  Each story almost demanded a pause for reflection upon completion.  The titular Windeye, as well as the story of a woman falling out of time were among my favorites.  People trapped in unfamiliar places or situations, identity confusion, loss of control, and loss of a sense of self are all themes that occur in these stories.  They are frightening as well as thought-provoking.  

Windeye is a collection for anyone who enjoys horror stories, as well as anyone who appreciates a well-written short story of any genre.  I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.