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Slights Kindle Edition
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"The best horror of 2009" - Genreville (Publishers Weekly's genre blog, referring to previous edition)
"I've never seen anyone capture sordid human nature so clearly. I was completely drawn in, totally immersed. I felt ill much of the time." - Russell Kirkpatrick
"Simply gut-wrenching" - John Courtenay Grimwood, SFX (June 2008)
"There comes a time when you know, during your reading of a book, that it is going to have a profound effect on you, in terms of its engaging writing and also the message it delivers... Slights by Kaaron Warren can be added to this list." - Mark Deniz, Dark Fiction Review
"It’s a creepy kind of horror novel, the kind of sublime read that gets under your skin and leads you to distraction... It’s laudably original and Warren’s acerbic writing style is equally poetic and twisted." - Paul Goat Allen, Unabashedly Bookish: The BN Community Blog
"... a brilliantly written book that will not allow you to walk away from it. This is psychological horror at its very best." - Shroud Magazine Book Reviews
"Scarier than Hitchcock, Peckinpah, early Stephen King, Barker et al, and with the sort of dark un-PC humour the Coen Brother’s and John Waters would probably kill for."
- 3:AM Magazine
From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B08MQR197H
- Publisher : IFWG Publishing International; Second edition (November 15, 2020)
- Publication date : November 15, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 764 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 286 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,659,293 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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To be fair, I'm evaluating this book independent of the cover. Slights is a year-by-year chronicle of a disturbed young woman. 18-year-old Stevie is haunted by the visions she had after barely surviving the car crash which killed her mother. She found herself in a dark room, surrounded by the people she'd slighted in life, clawing and tearing at her. Each chapter represents another year in her life, in which she becomes more and more obsessed with that room, going to greater and greater lengths to return to it and learn more. She also makes some gruesome discoveries in her parents' backyard which causes her to question her family history.
While it's hard to like Stevie, she's interesting and funny at times. The story lines about the room and her family history engaged me enough to keep the book going. The depth of detail about Stevie's family and personal life made her very realistic. I didn't feel the book was frightening at all, probably because the scary elements were intensely personal for the main character (and therefore, unlikely to show up under my bed at 3:30 a.m.).
I recommend this book to readers who enjoy macabre, character-driven fiction.
The novel drags on for far too long, with pages after pages devoted to how Stevie dislikes this person or that person for this arbitrary reason. And, honestly, I didn't care about them either because there's a disappointing lack of characterization going on. There's nothing particularly scary or unsettling going on, and even the vaguely otherworldly bits come across as flat and unengaging because the book is told from Stevie's perspective and she reacts to everything with all the emotion and personality of a rock. The first scene, describing Stevie's near-death experience and a trip to the other realm, should have been terrifying, but it was just related in far too bland and matter-of-fact a way. It was like reading a power point presentation on someone's vacation.
Warren's narrative has an odd, slippery cadence to it that means it was far too easy for my mind to wander, and after about 150 pages I realised I was still waiting for the book to "start getting good" and had to give up on it. Maybe the rest of the book dispenses live kittens and delicious candy every time you turn a page. I wouldn't know, because for me, I don't care to waste time reading a book I'm not enjoying NOW just on the promise that it might get better eventually.
Definitely not for everyone, though I had high hopes. Definitely try a sample before you commit to buying the whole thing.
Top reviews from other countries
SLIGHTS ist ein wirklich verstörender Roman. Nicht nur Stevies Erfahrungen mit dem Leben nach dem Tod sind unheimlich, auch sie selbst und ihr Leben sind teilweise wirklich erschreckend. Stevie ist eine Soziopathin und ihr Blick auf die Welt und ihre Mitmenschen ist wenigstens für mich beklemmend. Obwohl sie keine positive Hauptprotagonistin ist, ist mir Stevie alles in allem nicht unsympathisch. Sie hat eine sehr starke Stimme und die Beweggründe für ihr Handeln sind zumindest aus ihrer Warte immer vollkommen logisch. Sie hat mir manchmal sogar richtig Leid getan.
Die Nebenfiguren in SLIGHTS haben mir ebenfalls gefallen. Sehr interessant fand ich die Differenz zwischen Stevies Wahrnehmung von ihnen und wie sie tatsächlich sind.
Neben Stevie und ihren Todesexperimenten spielt auch ihre Familie und deren schreckliches Geheimnis eine große Rolle in SLIGHTS. Stevie wird damit immer wieder konfrontiert und macht sich halbherzig daran, es aufzudecken. Kaaron Warren zeigt außerdem immer wieder auf, wie Stevie ihr Leben an die Wand fährt und sich selbst eine immer tiefere Grube gräbt.
SLIGHTS ist ein beklemmendes, quälendes und nicht immer leicht zu ertragendes Buch, das mir trotzdem gut gefallen hat. Empfehlenswert.
The tale is broken down chapter by chapter by the birthday years of our principal character and narrator - Stevie Searle. Written in the first-person-perspective, the storyline commences from when Stevie is eighteen and is thrust into the traumatic experience of a car crash in which her mother is killed. Stevie's father, a cop for the local force, was killed whilst on duty during Stevie's early childhood. Now, at the age of eighteen, Stevie is left alone in what was once their family house. Her brother, Peter, is now happily married to his wife Maria (who Stevie detests) with their two young children.
After experiencing no less than two near-death experiences as a result of the car accident, Stevie is now forming an understanding of what awaits her (and very probably others) after she passes away. During her brief moments of death, Stevie is subjected to escalating degrees of torture at the hands of everyday people who she has come into contact with and slighted for whatever reason. These grudges are of a purely trivial nature; however, the resulting torment that awaits her at their hands is an unjustifiably magnified response to such small misdemeanours.
Already harbouring a litany of behavioural problems that would keep Sigmund Freud busy for years, Stevie's stance on life is an entertainingly simple one (from the outside), with her reaction to anything that does not follow her own unique way of thinking, often resulting in an outspoken rejection or sheer mockery. What from other people perspective would appear to be a string of endless (and perhaps even mindless) acts of anti-social behaviour, are instead shown from Stevie point-of-view as an entirely sane and acceptable response to an everyday occurrence. The outcome, as one would guess, if a vast array of slighted individuals lying in the wake of this unfortunately self-destructive character.
Stevie's obsessive compulsive disorder (`OCD') dominates her day-to-day life, carving out a symbolic reflection of the young girl's inner turmoil that remains hidden from her own eyes. Stevie begins to become less aware of the reality of life, and instead, more concerned with what awaits her and everyone else in the afterlife. In an effort to find out more and corroborate her own understanding, Stevie begins taking the lives of others to find out what is lying in wait for them at the moment of their death.
However, her past and that of her family is shrouded in secrets that are screaming to be heard. With each revelation comes a new emotional obstacle that threatens to swallow Stevie up once and for all...
Kaaron Warren's creatively written tale allows for a uniquely intriguing perspective similar to that of Iain Banks' debut novel `The Wasp Factory'. Although the character of Stevie is that of a truly disturbed and emotionally stunted individual, Warren successfully portrays a very convincing insight from behind the characters eyes.
The storyline utilises a constant backbone of sharp comedy from Stevie's uninhibited and outspoken approach to life. Moments in the book, such as the various messages that Stevie leaves her brother Peter on his answer-machine, are nothing short of laugh out loud comedy. Everything that is said by Stevie is a straight-faced joke, designed to unnerve but ultimately amuse. Her brother gets her humour and basks in it for his own sanity (as well as the pretence of her own sanity).
Warren maintains a clouded level of mystery as to Stevie's past, particularly to the events leading up to and ultimately surrounding her beloved father's death. When Warren finally unveils the truth behind it all, the realisation is somehow more subdued than you would have thought it should have been. Each revelation is a stepping-stone along the pathway of the novel's plot. Although these important events are still only a side-note to the depiction of Stevie's deeply disturbed personality.
Warren offers up snippets of understanding to the underlying plot throughout the tale. Each one has its own unique subplot that carefully inter-weaves with the overall thrust of the tale. The subplots eventually find themselves calmly merging into one solid understanding, which has taken the reader through seventeen of Stevie's years, to the final age of thirty-five.
The storyline is as complex as it is entertaining, with eventful subplots endlessly circling around the main thread of the tale. Each one of the characters is given a well developed personality, with unique and often wholly unflattering characteristics.
Although utterly disturbed and horrendously anti-social, the reader can't help but feel a growing love and emotional bound towards Stevie. Like with Frank Cauldhame from `The Wasp Factory' this is somewhat disorientating, as well as deeply thought provoking.
All in all, the tale is a truly inspired and analytically challenging read that will entertain as much as it will claw at your emotions.
The tale runs for a total of 502 pages as well as including a bonus interview with the author entitled "Meet the Author: 20 Hasty Questions for Kaaron Warren" and a 10 page extract from the author's up and coming novel `Mistification'.
Stevie's outspoken nature and antisocial behaviour inevitably causes her some problems in real-world situations, making it particularly difficult to hold down a regular job, but it's the other world that Stevie is really interested in. In a couple of near-death experiences she has found herself in a dark room with all the people she has slighted in the past - relatives, friends and even passing strangers who she has managed to upset - all waiting to pay her back in horrible ways for the rest of eternity. Fascinated by what she experiences, Stevie wants to learn more, but to do that she needs to get close to people on the point of death, and she has a few ideas about how to make that happen.
What is just so wonderful about Kaaron Warren's writing is how refreshingly different it is, making Slights a quite original and completely unpredictable psychological horror novel. A lot of this is down to the decision to relate events from the point of view of Stevie. The story doesn't follow a conventional path then (like Holden Caulfield, Stevie isn't going to give you any of that David Copperfield kind of crap), but relates to Stevie's frame of mind - not always reliable as there are some things she is initially unwilling to face up to - and her view of some troubling events in her past. Brilliantly written, remarkably rich in character and psychological insight, Slights is an edgy and sometimes darkly humorous look into one damaged mind (and a few others along the way), at families, at the little everyday little slights that manage to chip away at one's esteem and some bigger ones that leave much deeper scars.