Are you looking for a new anthology of craftly, well-written short-stories, than check out And Nobody Lived Happily Ever After by Kate Farrell, a diverse anthology of her work, showcasing her skill as a writer, clearly influenced by grim, gritting storytelling featured in horror and in her other works. I found myself intrigued by the dark themes expressed in the different stories, flawlessly transitioning from one point of view to the next.
The gripping anthology of short stories, And Nobody Lived Happily Ever After by Kate Farrell was published by Parallel Universe Publications in 2015. http://paralleluniversepublications.blogspot.co.uk/
The color of pain is white, the text is black. The balance works immaculately. Mea Culpa is an everyday tale of domestic violence, the psychological interplay of victim and perpetrator, until the final paragraph rips your head around. The jarring discovery forces you to rethink your every assumption, and sends you zapping back to the opening line.
You’re than left checking out details you missed. Mea Culpa is originally published in The Eighth Black Book of Horror by Charles Black published by Mortbury Press in 2011. It proved a startling debut for Edinburgh-resident Kate Farrell.
The Other Sides of Farrell
Waiting, which I first encountered in the anthology, Kitchen Sink Gothic also published by Parallel Universe in 2015, features an unerring ear for voice and dialect, moving through meticulously-observed dialogue which makes you wait until the very last line for the almost-casually delivered kick in the head that leaves you reeling. So obvious, yet so lethal it stings.
As Reggie Oliver’s personalised introduction explains, Kate’s theatrical sense of structure and character-interplay may derive from her thirty-year thespian back-story, ‘dressed up as somebody else’ playing from Chekhov to ‘Chuckle vision’, with supporting roles to the likes of Roy Kinnear or Anthony Quayle in national theatre productions during the Thatcher years.
Unimpressed by the unpredictability of tours, she begins sketching out her own subtle bite-size dramas of sinister nastiness. In which yes, nobody does live happily ever after. Seldom supernatural, and yet riddled with an air of tangible evil, these playlets chart the macabre results of perfect three-year-old Martha “Helping Mummy” deal with spiteful toddler brother Adam, each small minutia of detail snared in carefully calibrated phrases building inexorably towards horror.
Mythic Haunting Stories
The starkly mythic rural haunting of A Murder of Crows, punctuated by the silver ice-picks of pain. The vicious vengeance inflicted on the ‘No Junk Mail’ harridan, the fate of the hideously-disfigured former-sixties model, the lethal extremes to which twins Nic and Anton go to avoid the sheer embarrassment of their self-made Bob Hoskins-alike “Dad Dancing”. The smugly evil paedophile priest.
There’s also the original version of teenage-misfit My Name Is Mary Sutherland, the lethally-effective short-story of screwed-up adolescent angst later expanded to novella-length for Peter Crowther’s P.S Publishing in 2014. These are exquisitely crafted tales that unsettle and disturb and there’s got to be a word that means more than that, because they’re so easy to read, they’re here and now, in the recognisable world. Eleven of the eighteen are new. All are object lessons in twenty-first century shock.
My rating 9/10