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Paper Tigers Paperback – February 29, 2016
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-Cemetery Dance Online
"This isn't just a great novel - it's one of the best horror novels in recent memory."
"...a smartly dark, deftly crafted journey into the depths of damaged humanity."
"Paper Tigers is a gorgeous tapestry of pain from an author who specializes in just such intricate needlework. It's about suffering, and wholeness, fear, longing, insecurity, self-loathing, and the prices we'd pay to get back what we lost."
-The Horror Fiction Review
"Paper Tigers is full of hauntings of every sort, a modern ghost story of the very best kind, combining the delicate mania of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the subtlety of Shirley Jackson and the raw dynamism of Joyce Carol Oates. But what Walters delivers here is thoroughly her own creation: a starkly beautiful tale of what it means to survive."
HELEN MARSHALL, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Gifts for the One Who Comes After
Paper Tigers gathers the best from every childhood scary storycreepy antiques, haunted houses, seemingly friendly ghostsand repackages them with the worst and most isolating of adult fears. Walters’ prose is vivid and gripping, luring you in, feeding you images that will leave you comforted by the light of your bedside nightstand; horror nostalgia at its finest.”
REBECCA JONES-HOWE, author of Vile Men
With Paper Tigers, Damien Angelica Walters has created a hauntingly elegant portrait of loneliness and longing for healing. But where she confronts real terror is in answering the question of what it costs the wounded to be whole again. This book is at once as beautiful and frightening as a scar on smooth skin or a scream with perfect pitch.”
BRACKEN MACLEOD, author of Mountain Home and Stranded
Damien Angelica Walters pulls you into the heart of her characters and traps you there until you’re not sure if the story is haunting you, or you’re haunting it. Wonderfully creepy and heartwarming, fear and sadness alternate and blend throughout in a story that’s packed with atmosphere. Keep the lights on and the tissues close.”
SARAH READ, editor of Pantheon Magazine
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
After being severely burnt and losing everything in a fire, Allison is slowly mustering the courage to get out of her house again. On a late night walk she is invited into an antique shop and finds an old photo album. The album begins to lure Allison into the time period and world of those who are photographed with in the photos. She discovers that some horrible things happened inside the house pictured in the album. She also discovers that her scars disappear when she is inside the album. Eventually Allison is forced to choose if it's worth staying in this scary world with no scars or face reality as a burn victim. Also, while traveling back and forth between reality and the ghost world she realizes she could be risking releasing a brutal murdered from the photo album to the real world.
I put the spoiler button on this review but I am not really going to give anything away. I just want to say that the book doesn't have a happy ending but I really really liked the ending. I am not one of those people that thinks all endings should be happy. I enjoyed the book overall but found the ending exceptional.Read more ›
Okay and so maybe I could totes see Hiddleston as George, so what?
The point is, Paper Tigers is a gorgeous tapestry of pain from an author who specializes in just such intricate needlework. It’s about suffering, and wholeness, fear, longing, insecurity, self-loathing, and the prices we’d pay to get back what we lost.
Main character Alison is a burn victim. Not a survivor, but a victim, because her condition consumes her every waking moment and rules her world. Half her body is a disfigured mess of scar tissue. She thinks of herself as Monstergirl, having lost her hopes, her future, and everything but a hollow and reclusive existence.
Despite the efforts of her mother, her doctor, and her physical therapist, Alison hardly even ventures outside. On one of her rare excursions, she finds an old photo album at an antique shop and adds it to her collection – she enjoys looking at these images from the lives of others, making up stories to fill in what’s captured in the pictures.
There’s something strange about this particular album, though. It has an entire haunted house of dark history within its pages, and its inhabitants want Alison to join them. The offer is tempting – in their world, she can lose her scars, she can lose her pain … but at what price?
So, yeah, movie-making people, this is the one you need to do. It’s awesomely written, the sets and effects and costumes would be beautiful, it’s got tragedy and romance, it’s got it all. Somebody get Hiddleston’s people on the phone. And if he’s not available, how about Radcliffe?
Of course, the photo album isn't just a photo album; it promises to make her broken self whole.
The premise of this book is an interesting one, and Waters attempts to explore obsession, isolation, and brokenness through this plot. However, throughout the second half especially, it feels more like I'm reading a cliche horror movie transcribed into novel form, complete with fading, discordant piano notes. Descriptions of Alison's obsession are surface at best, and times that I felt engaged with her pain or fear were few and far between.
Overall, I can't say that I particularly recommend this book. It's not terrible; it's not great. A solid "meh" from me.
Started: May 4, 2016
Finished: May 12, 2016
In Paper Tigers we meet Alison, a young woman bearing the scars – physically and emotionally – of a fire that stopped her former life in its tracks. Once well on her way to becoming a teacher, she now lives a life of isolation, afraid to set foot outside of the house. Her body is unrecognizable, her fiance is gone, her hopes and dreams seem a distant memory. Her mother and physical therapist are trying in earnest to help, but things are moving much too fast for her to handle. She hasn’t lost hope, but she’s stuck in a sort of limbo.
One day, having summoned the courage to get out for a walk, she comes across an antique shop wherein she finds a curious photo album which might be just the thing she needed. The photographs are like doorways to the past, to a house inhabited by a man who has the power to take away her scars. It’s an incredible offer, but of course there’s a price to be paid.
From here on out, as Alison moves between past and present, her internal plight and the things happening to and around her are masterfully intertwined. In some passages Paper Tigers reads like a psychedelic, classically gothic fever dream, while in others it becomes a quiet rumination on the way past scars can transmute and take on an internal life of their own. The whole of it is wrapped in purposeful, delicate prose. Upon rereading, it reveals multiple layers, both of Alison’s psyche and the nearsighted way our society often views the contrast between beauty and ugliness.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this book at a new independent bookstore in my hometown and I'm so glad I did! This book was so good, I had a hard time putting it down! Read morePublished 23 days ago by Wess39
Damien writes with authority and beautiful finesse. I've heard her often claim that she wants to write about broken people, and in Paper Tigers, she does so with an aching... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kristi DeMeester
I've been waiting a while to write a review after savoring this luxurious piece of prose, but I still can't quite find the words to describe Paper Tigers. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Carina Bissett