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Things That Never Happen Paperback – November 11, 2004
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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From Publishers Weekly
"In some places, we're all ghosts," Harrison writes in "The Incalling," one of 24 superlative stories in this British author's first U.S. collection. From the "warren of defeated streets" between Camden Rd. and St. Pancras in London to the "glacial moraines of Stake pass, where dragonflies clatter mournfully through the brittle reed-stems," Harrison writes ghost stories without any ghosts in them. His characters typically live in the margins, or have conspired to live there through the vagaries of fate or experience. They quiver on the edge of discovering a great truth, uncovering a vast secret about the universe, or living a life previously unknown to them. Such characters are often enraptured by a vision or obsession invisible to the rest of us. The painter's precision with which Harrison works and the aversion to cliche and generic detail make his prose style hyper-real even in his most fantastical tales. "The Egnaro," "The Great God Pan," "Isobel Avens Returns to Stepney in the Spring" and "The Neon Heart Murders" are particularly brilliant and compare favorably with the work of any fiction writer in the world, whether genre or mainstream. Wise, unflinching, precise, these stories immerse us in a world we thought we knew but that stands revealed by turns as richer, starker and more complex.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Harrison's stories are understated, though loaded with subtly insinuated horror and mystery. Their strength lies in attention to detail. "A Young Man's Journey to London," for one, is a look at the strange in familiar places, at mysteries waiting to be found just around the corner. "Egnaro," on the other hand, is about an unfamiliar place that haunts those who hear its name, as though it is a great secret held by some vast, unconscious conspiracy, a place everyone else knows. These stories are not empty entertainments. They remain with the reader as presences in the mind that beg to be picked apart, layer by layer, and to have the meanings of their loose ends teased out. Of course, there are no easy answers to their questions. Harrison's own notes to the stories provide chronology as well as insight into his writing process, and an introduction by hot new English sf-fantasy writer China Mieville lends cachet. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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The author is a master of people, able to decipher individuals to the point where he can construct characters that are real and fully rounded to the reader. It's astonishing that anybody can assemble characters so believable and place them in situations from the banal to the extraordinary, but keep them accessible and emotive.
The stories that stick out in my mind are mainly the ones with a touch of surreality to them: the first story in the collection is a wonderful piece reminiscent of P.K. Dick in which God returns; another is about a man who is crumbling apart so thoroughly that the environment begins to crumble with him; and there is a fantastic yet unhappy tale of a woman who wants nothing but to fly.
Throughout the whole collection is an aura of melancholy and quiet despair, although there is a lot of humour as well. The emotive content of the stories is what drive them and it's the uncanny ability of Harrison to charge every line with feeling is what makes this book unmissable.
It's difficult to judge a collection of short stories, but on the whole: