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Scratching The Surface [Paperback]

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Item description for Scratching The Surface by Kelly Michael...

"Scratching The Surface" is Michael Kelly's debut collection of dark fantasy and horror stories. It comes replete with an introduction from John Pelan. Michael Kelly is a of member of the Ghost Story Society and a fiction editor at The Chiaroscuro/Chizine, the web's premier site for dark fiction. Michael Kelly's short stories have appeared in magazines and journals, including All Hallows, Carleton Arts Review, Flesh & Blood, H.P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror, Space & Time and Surreal. His tales have garnered honourable mention's in volumes 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, and 19 of The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. His title story "Scratching The Surface" appeared in the anthology "Dark Arts" edited by John Pelan, which also included tales from notables such as Jeff VanderMeer, Charlee Jacob, and Tim Lebbon.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   216
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.1" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 28, 2007
Publisher   Crowswing Books
ISBN  190510023X  
ISBN13  9781905100231  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Horror Fiction > Dark Fantasy
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Scratching The Surface?

scratching the surface  May 6, 2008
SCRATCHING THE SURFACE by Michael Kelly is a literary paradigm of disturbing tales - many of which are ghost stories - that explore the darker aspects of human nature, and the myriad devices we humans employ to survive in a cursed world of our own making. The writing here is eloquent and rich with pathos, reflecting compassion for the disenfranchised and absolution for the sinner, with each tale emerging discretely as either a tribute to persistence in the face of extreme adversity or an analogy of self condemnation in the wake of undoing - evoking with sheer artistry of words the monsters that can dwell inside a tortured human psyche.

In the titular "Scratching the Surface", an odd boarder bequeaths a peculiar gift to his landlord's young son (creepy, good reading here, one of my favorite stories in the collection). The rest of the tales in SCRATCHING THE SURFACE fall in line with equal strangeness: "Thin Red Wire" - in which lovers discover the tie that binds in a world where hope has died; "Comes a Cool Rain" - a touching story in which a child's mercy falls short of love; "Like a Stone in the River Bed" - a lonely woman gambles with her body and discovers mystery revealed; "Radiant Boxer" - wherein a man finds redemption in a world where even angels can't save everyone; "The Simple Sound of Dead Trees Singing" (with C. S. Fuqua) - a grieving man encounters the ghost of denial; "A Place of Thorns and Stones" - brings us post apocalyptic deconstruction and restoration through human sacrifice; "Warm Wet Circles" - in which a schizoid makes an alarming discovery on the pavement; "The Music of Broken Things" - a tale of death, remorse, and undoing; "Heart of the Wolf" - a poignant native tale about the interdependence of all living things; "Paper Thin" -a nightmarish tale of ennui; "Metastasis" - wherein a man running from his past takes a wrong turn down memory lane; "The Melancholy Taste of Metal" - an unsettling piece about multi-generational transference of dysfunctional dynamics (another of this reader's favorites); "Flight of the Crystal Bird" - star crossed lovers try to escape futuristic assembly-line procreation; "Summer Ghosts" - a young boy must cope with his little brother's death; "Sea of Ash and Sorrow" - wherein a man discovers that the sea can offer up atonement for the price of grief; "The Man Who Ate Moths" - a curious tale about suicide and resurrection; "Twilight in the Field of Forever" (with Carol Weekes) - an eerie ghost story about a disfigured girl and her relationship with cicadas; "Last Train Home" - a story with Lovecraftian underpinnings about an office worker and his dissatisfied wife; "Ghost Boy on the Back Porch" - a story about a man failing to come to grips with the death of his wife and son; "When Children Weep" - the ocean offers renewal to a widower and his son; "The Smell of Chaos is Written in its Hues" - in which an angst ridden artist finds freedom in his final canvas (another favorite); "Wolves and Angels" - an eerie tale about death and closure; "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" (with Scott Thomas) - a man searching for his sister's killer encounters the unexpected; "Fly to the Rainbow" - a bitter-sweet love story with a message; and lastly, "Worse Things" - a darkly intertwining tale in which a boy performs the unthinkable to survive.

Highly recommended reading.

Beneath The Surface  Apr 11, 2007
The title of this book is a bit misleading, because Michael Kelly doesn't merely scratch at the surface in these stories. Sure, he starts off each story in a similarly subtle fashion of merely scratching, but he doesn't stop there -- he digs deep, revealing the true heart of his characters and some truly disturbing and deeply affective moments.

His stories are subtle, sophisticated and brilliantly written. They don't take the reader by the throat or reach into the reader's chest to rip out out their heart; they are more powerful than that. Instead, they sink in, gestate, fester inside the reader's mind, leaving an effect long after you've finished reading. Like a fine wine or carefully aged scotch, there is a resounding and impressive aftertaste to each tale that will linger on the taste buds of your mind.

Reading this collection it's easy to see how Kelly has garnered honorable mention in 6 volumes of The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. If you like well crafted fiction, carefully imagined situations and characters that live and breathe and make you think long after you've put a book down, you'll enjoy "Scratching the Surface" by Michael Kelly.

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