Epeolatry Book Review: A Blackness Absolute by Caitlin Marceau
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Title: A Blackness Absolute
Author: Caitlin Marceau
Publisher: Ghost Orchid Press
Release Date: 21st, February, 2023
Synopsis: A Blackness Absolute is a collection of short horror stories by up-and-coming Canadian author Caitlin Marceau. The collection takes in uncertainties of perception, feelings of vulnerability—to the weather, the natural world, the tenuousness of sanity—and mixes these elements with a strong sense of history and folklore. From the title piece, which evokes the pure claustrophobic terror of becoming lost and disoriented in a cave-system, to the final tale, Doireann, where a woman performs unusual funeral rites in a starving community, each story layers ambiguities to create an unnerving effect that will get under your skin.
If you love great storytelling, creepy atmospherics, and stories that instil a sense of dread that will return to you in the dead of night, then you’re sure to find something to enjoy in this masterful collection. These stories will linger long after you close the book.
I was unfamiliar with Canadian author Caitlin Marceau. I’m glad to finally get acquainted with her work by reading this collection, which assembles eight original stories apt to disquiet readers used to the most horrific fiction.
As a superb storyteller, even Marceau’s less remarkable tales are somehow more interesting than the average short horror stories appearing in print nowadays.
At her best Marceau is extraordinarily good, clearly demonstrated by more accomplished stories included in the present volume.
“Sarah” is a vivid piece with a gruesome ending, featuring a minister’s daughter with a physical defect.
“The Broomsay” a bitter, outstanding story, centers around a man who betrayed his family and finally gets his well-deserved punishment.
“Doireann” is an extremely dark tale imbued with the frightening reality of a deadly disease and of unspeakable unholy practices.
The author’s debut novel is forthcoming. Meanwhile I’ll try my best to retrieve some of her previous production of short stories. You should do the same.
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Mario Guslandi was born in Milan, Italy, where he currently lives. A long time fan of dark fiction (especially short stories)he’s probably the only Italian who reviews horror and supernatural tales in English. Over the years his reviews have appeared in many genre sites such as Horrorworld, The British Fantasy Society, Hellnotes, Emerald City, SF Revu, Thirteen O’ Clock, etc.