Friday, 30 January 2015

Book review - Spooky and Kooky Tales, by Carla Sarett

I absolutely loved this book. Sarett is a highly gifted writer, and she sparkles in this collection of short fiction. Some of the stories are creepy, some sad, and some funny, but in each and every one of them, the reader is firmly grasped by the scruff of the neck and taken where he least expected to go.

A particular strength of Sarett's is humour, and the last two stories particularly showcase this, and were my personal favourites. The utterly charming Losing Mr Franklin is the nearest I've ever seen this writer come to a love story, and was executed with dash and great style. The final story, The Rabbi's Lesson, is also hilariously funny, and in particular shows the sharp observation that is the hallmark of the real writer.

Of the darker stories, Happy Halloween was, I felt, one of the most horrifying stories I have ever read. I was very nearly in tears reading it. It is a striking demonstration of what I've always maintained, that you do not need a big hairy monster, or indeed anything unnatural, to show pure evil. I'll remember that story for a long time.

Particularly pleasing to me is the way that Sarett never overdoes her endings; there's a tendency nowadays to feel that every loose end must be knotted off, every question answered, and nothing left to the reader at all. This most important discipline of a good writer, knowing when to stop, is something at which she excels. It makes the difference between a truly fine story and one that would have been merely good.

The whole collection is impeccably written, and like Saki's stories, this book is one to keep, treasure and revisit.

Spooky and Kooky Tales is available from SMASHWORDS.

No comments:

Post a Comment