A collection of thirteen stories ranging from the absurd to the profound.
I’m honestly not sure how to categorize this collection, and that may be my favorite thing about it. There’s a story for every genre, and there’s a huge variety in style and tone—so much so I kept forgetting that it was a single author collection and not an anthology—and if that’s not impressive enough Chaplinsky does it well. The versatility in these pages impressed the hell out of me, and is an absolute joy for a lover of short fiction. There wasn’t a dud, and every story was effective at the very least, but there were some stories worth shouting out in particular.
Letters to the Purple Satin Killer— Serial killers are freaky right? Not nearly as creepy as the people who love them. Told through letters from various written to a serial killer on trial (but none of the killers responses) Chaplinsky takes one sided conversations and turns into something deeply unsettling.
Mummer's Parade—This is one fucked up fairytale that feels more like an old fable that’s been passed down through generations, and has only just been rediscovered and put to paper. I could’ve drowned in the mood and imagery here (and gladly!).
The Black Hole— I don’t even have the words to do this one justice, but it is an incredibly beautiful, sad, and profound experience—must read.
Nobody Rides for Free— and in a completely different direction, this is one gruesome, bloody, grindhouse-esque gross out, that even in a collection with so much variety, still feels like the odd man out. Yet it still works perfectly because Chaplinsky completely leans into it, and pulls it off.
I love short fiction with all of my being, and this collection checked every single box for why I enjoy it so much. More than anything, I am completely blown away by what a chameleon Chaplinsky is. An author who can pitch their voice to perfectly embody the story no matter the genre is truly something to behold. I’m on standby to read more from Chaplinsky, and highly recommend you add WHISPERS IN THE EAR OF A DREAMING APE to your reading list!