I loved this book! It is the first short story collection from Craig Laurance Gidney and reading it, and then re-reading it, made me wish it was a longer collection or a part of a series. Gidney's voice is very assured and he expertly switches back and forth between first and third person narratives and different times and locals with ease.
Gidney's use of language is hauntingly beautiful and at once put me in mind of Tanith Lee or Storm Constantine. I also loved the way that he would play with myth and folklore, putting his own unique signature on them; from an African seagod to Desire personified, I found them all hard to shake as I proceeded to the next story.
It's hard to pick a favorite out of all these perfect gems but both "Etiolate" and "Strange Alphabets" spring immeadiately to mind. I loved the spin on the life of Arthur Rimbaud who is
"cursed by poetry." And the story of Oliver, who must comes to terms with what he desires and his own need to be wanted was darkly erotic. "Catch Him by the Toe" is straight up horror where a small town becomes a hunting ground for a creature bent on revenge, while "Circus-Boy Without a Safety Net" is a coming out story of a boy who follows his patron saint Lena Horne to New York.
Each and every tale in this collection is a joy to read and I was very happy I sought this book out. I hope you do the same! And thanks to Mr. Gidney; I can't wait for what's coming next!