Things We Say in the Dark – Kirsty Logan

Fear. Dread. The unexpected, the unexplainable, the utterly incomprehensible and the unsettling all combined into the stories of Kirsty Logan’s ‘Things We Say in the Dark’. A collection of dark and disturbing, sometimes bizarre, tales that cannot leave you untouched ~ that keep hurdling through your mind.

The Blurb

So here we go, into the dark.

Some things can’t be spoken about in the light of day. But we can visit our fears at night, in the dark. We can turn them over and weigh them in our hands and maybe that will protect us from them. But maybe not.

The characters in this collection find their aspirations for happy homes, happy families and happy memories dissected and imbued with shimmering menace. Alone in a remote house in Iceland, a woman is unnerved by her isolation; another can only find respite from the clinging ghost that follows her by submerging herself in an overgrown pool.

Couples wrestle with a lack of connection to their children; a schoolgirl becomes obsessed with the female anatomical models in a museum, and a cheery account of child’s day out is undercut by chilling footnotes.

These dark tales explore women’s fears with electrifying honesty and invention and speak to one another about female bodies, domestic claustrophobia, desire and violence. From a talented writer who has been compared to Angela Carter, Things We Say in the Dark is a powerful contemporary collection of feminist stories, ranging from vicious fairy tales to disturbing horror and tender ghost stories.

My Thoughts

Admittedly, at first, when I started reading Things We Say in the Dark, I wondered whether I would be able to finish the book. The ‘fear’ stories are so utterly absurd ~ one reminded me vaguely of Sophocles’ Antigone ~ that I felt it impossible to feel empathy with the protagonists.

With all the glowing reviews, why wasn’t I ‘feeling’ it? Determined to continue, I read on. And before I knew it, I was captivated. Even if the endings of some stories were bizarre and very dark, I felt engrossed and kept turning the pages. OMG, Birds Fell from the Sky and Each One Spoke in Your Voice… Creepy, sad, incredibly sad. Imagine growing up like that and then being confronted… no, I’ll not say more, you will have to read it!

To me, as a mother, the two most incomprehensible horror stories were Half Sick of Shadows ~ the ending, despite having mixed feelings (which is a huge compliment to the author as she’s ‘made’ me feel all sorts of emotions, rage not in the least!) also made me chuckle as it’s got some dark humour! ~ and The Only Thing I Can’t Tell You is Why. The latter… heartbreakingly sad. I can’t tell you why (!), you’ll have to find out for yourself but boy, do these stories get to you.

The author talks to us from her Icelandic retreat (or is it another protagonist and not the author herself?) and we feel her solitude, even if it is self-imposed, her (sense of) disconnection with the world around her. Kirsty Logan has done an amazing job painting the dark and disturbing from seemingly ordinary day-to-day situations, locations, scenes. Things We Say in the Dark is haunting and riveting, evoking all sorts of emotions, leaving you deep in thought long after you’ve closed the book.

About the Author

Kirsty Logan is the author of two novels (The Gloaming, The Gracekeepers), three short story collections (Things We Say in the Dark, A Portable Shelter, The Rental Heart), a flash fiction chapbook (The Psychology of Animals Swallowed Alive), and a short memoir (The Old Asylum in the Woods at the Edge of the Town Where I Grew Up).

Her books have won the Lambda Literary Award, Polari Prize, Saboteur Award, Scott Prize and Gavin Wallace Fellowship. Her work has been adapted for stage, recorded for radio and podcasts, exhibited in galleries and distributed from a vintage Wurlitzer cigarette machine.

She lives in Glasgow with her wife and their rescue dog.

Kirsty Logan on Social Media

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Book Info

Things We Say in the Dark is available at Amazon

Paperback240 pages
 PublisherHarvill Secker (3 Oct. 2019)
ISBN (paperback)9781787301535
ASIN (e-book)B07NSG2PXF

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