on 16 August 2013
I could take the standard route and review this collection of novellas from front to back, detailing each one and how I felt about them individually. I'm not going to do that. All right, I will make an exception with the "The Tent". If you want an original scary story, then this is it. Depending on your thresholds, you may even wish to take it along with you on your next camping trip...or maybe not. Is sleep important to you? Then don't take it. You have been warned. So that's it - that is my review of Kealan Patrick Burke's "The Novellas". I haven't even touched on "You In?" or "Seldom Seen in August" or "Midlisters" ( my favourite... brilliant! ). But for me that's not important. Why? Because I discovered something else in these four stories, which I think is far more important. Weaved into each one, to a lesser or greater degree, is Burke's wonderfully perceptive grasp of how men can feel around the women they love...and even those they don't. He picks out the shortcomings, the fear of failure, the disappointments, the sense - whether real or imagined - that nothing is ever good enough. These are men who want to commit but can't, and if they do, then they wait for the inevitable break-up. They stand in the shadows, never quite in the light, because the light hurts and the shadows don't. Shadows keep their own secret, comforting space.
You know something? You might not see what I did, and that's fine. On their own, each of these stories stand tall and proud and worthy of your attention, anyway. But for me, Burke is much more than a "horror" novelist. He knows what a man should say, but alas he didn't, and it was that, the silence, the awkwardness, the shying away ( and sometimes the downright hopeless criminality ), that in the end ruined everything. Thank you, KPB. Never have my bus-rides to work been more enjoyable.