Song for the Unraveling of the World

Song for the Unraveling of the World

Stories

Book - 2019
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A newborn's absent face appears on the back of someone else's head, a filmmaker goes to gruesome lengths to achieve the silence he's after for his final scene, and a therapist begins, impossibly, to appear in a troubled patient's room late at night. In these stories of doubt, delusion, and paranoia, no belief, no claim to objectivity, is immune to the distortions of human perception. Here, self-deception is a means of justifying our most inhuman impulses--whether we know it or not.
Publisher: Minneapolis : Coffee House Press, 2019.
ISBN: 9781566895484
1566895480
Branch Call Number: FIC Evens
Characteristics: 212 pages ; 21 cm

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Jaredzk
Nov 04, 2020

I had so many conflicting feelings when I read through this collection. It's not a balanced collection by any means but its surreal and uncanny where many of the stories are incomplete but intentionally so. These works are incomplete because they have nothing more to say, they are vignettes in a broader series of events all of which are (not in any order) distortionary, disquieting and disturbing. I had fun with this collection because it felt like horror that wasn't attempting to appeal to my more modern traditional understating of what is and isn't scary.

If I had to describe this collection of stories with an image it would be a big old CRT television that was unplugged while running every dark show at the same time and we as the audience are merely glimpsing into the fading images.

b
BenjaminGreene
Jul 25, 2020

A book full of interesting, albeit often infuriatingly incomplete stories. Evenson certainly seems to possess a clear vision in his mind when sitting down to write these stories, but like a victim of a stroke, is unable to communicate that vision in an effective way.
More often than not, the reader is left with little to no answers about what is truly happening in the stories throughout. As a horror fan, I completely understand the concept of “the audience will fear what it can’t see”, therefore the practice of keeping certain elements in the dark is needed to build suspense and dread. However, Evenson has taken this to the extreme and explains so little in his stories that they are barely coherent. Like a toddler just beginning to talk and fixating on the three or four words they know, Evenson fills every page with the equivalent of a baby’s gurgling babble, occasionally offering a phrase or two that seems to make sense, but ultimately leads no further to enlightenment than the ingredients label on the back of a cereal box.
(Example: In “Born Stillborn”, there is no explanation as to what that phrasing means, though it is a driving fixation of the main character. There is no explanation of who or what the visiting therapist is. There is no insight into the main character [does he come from a history of violence; is he supposed to be on medication; why is he only seeing a simple therapist if he is prone to mental breakdowns, etc.] or if the episodes he is experiencing are dreams. The overall lack of any clarity is inane and insulting.)
Evenson has many many prestigious awards and credits to his name, though I’m wondering how it came to be that he earned them if this current work of his is anything to go by. (Perhaps this was simply a book of duds. Every author has at least one bad book, it seems. And I certainly hope that is the case, because the alternative of lowered standards within the realm of literature is terrifying.) In summation, though filled with grammatically sound sentences and an obvious desire to tell intriguing, spooky stories, the overall execution is abysmal. Evenson’s inability to provide any insight into the happenings of his stories is reminiscent of a beginning Middle School writer’s attempts at writing “edgy” stories of psychopaths and monsters—commendable in the desire to tell a story, but unforgivable in all of its ridiculously inept shortcomings.

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