website statistics Song for the Unraveling of the World - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Song for the Unraveling of the World

Availability: Ready to download

A newborn's absent face appears on the back of someone else's head, a filmmaker goes to gruesome lengths to achieve the silence he's after for his final scene, and a therapist begins, impossibly, to appear in a troubled patient's room late at night. In these stories of doubt, delusion, and paranoia, no belief, no claim to objectivity, is immune to the distortions of human A newborn's absent face appears on the back of someone else's head, a filmmaker goes to gruesome lengths to achieve the silence he's after for his final scene, and a therapist begins, impossibly, to appear in a troubled patient's room late at night. In these stories of doubt, delusion, and paranoia, no belief, no claim to objectivity, is immune to the distortions of human perception. Here, self-deception is a means of justifying our most inhuman impulses--whether we know it or not.


Compare

A newborn's absent face appears on the back of someone else's head, a filmmaker goes to gruesome lengths to achieve the silence he's after for his final scene, and a therapist begins, impossibly, to appear in a troubled patient's room late at night. In these stories of doubt, delusion, and paranoia, no belief, no claim to objectivity, is immune to the distortions of human A newborn's absent face appears on the back of someone else's head, a filmmaker goes to gruesome lengths to achieve the silence he's after for his final scene, and a therapist begins, impossibly, to appear in a troubled patient's room late at night. In these stories of doubt, delusion, and paranoia, no belief, no claim to objectivity, is immune to the distortions of human perception. Here, self-deception is a means of justifying our most inhuman impulses--whether we know it or not.

30 review for Song for the Unraveling of the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    s.penkevich

    ‘After all, I already know I am not as stable as I have been led to believe. How hard could it possibly be to no longer be me?’ Brian Evenson has a talent for conducting tone while turning the screw of tension and terror until you want to scream out. Song for the Unraveling of the World, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, is an endlessly enjoyable fright fest that navigates the bleak corners of the human psyche as well as it does monsters and other menace. A girl is born without a face, a man t ‘After all, I already know I am not as stable as I have been led to believe. How hard could it possibly be to no longer be me?’ Brian Evenson has a talent for conducting tone while turning the screw of tension and terror until you want to scream out. Song for the Unraveling of the World, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, is an endlessly enjoyable fright fest that navigates the bleak corners of the human psyche as well as it does monsters and other menace. A girl is born without a face, a man takes shelter in an abandoned home to discover a creature has plans for him, another man spends years walking to avoid a gaze he feels at all times only to discover himself following his younger self, things go missing and all the while minds are coming unraveled. I read this a year ago and some stories still haunt me today. What works best is the way Evenson compounds details upon details, slowly revealing a little more but always hinting much more lurks just unread around the turn of each page. While this can occasionally feel incomplete, it is precisely this feeling of dangling at the precipice that evokes so much horror and dread—the monster unseen is always more horrific than the one seen because it can shapeshift to fit any horror in your imagination and the unknown can seem like an infinite space for terror. These stories are great fun and Evensons twists ensnare you like a monster leaping out from the darkness, consuming you with every wonderfully written passage. Great reading for a spooky evening. 4/5 ‘But this is not that kind of story, the kind meant to explain things. It simply tells things as they are, and as you know there is no explanation for how things are, at least none that would make any difference and allow them to be something else.’

  2. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    There's nothing more exciting than reading work by an author who's completely singular and unique, an author that almost defies description. Brian Evenson is one of those writers. Anyone who's ever read any work by him knows what I'm talking about. I'm not quite sure how to even catogerize the stories included here, which is the first full story collection I've read by him. They're mostly horrifying, but not quite standard horror, there are some pieces with aliens and spaceships but I wouldn't q There's nothing more exciting than reading work by an author who's completely singular and unique, an author that almost defies description. Brian Evenson is one of those writers. Anyone who's ever read any work by him knows what I'm talking about. I'm not quite sure how to even catogerize the stories included here, which is the first full story collection I've read by him. They're mostly horrifying, but not quite standard horror, there are some pieces with aliens and spaceships but I wouldn't quite call them science fiction or fantasy. What I love about the stories is that there is very little valuable time spent on going into full detail about the setting. The effect is that the stories have a timeless, otherworldy feel, where I wasn't quite sure if the story took place in the future, the present, on Earth, or even in another dimension. This adds so much to the heavy, oppressive atmosphere in most of these stories. I was there for days, weeks perhaps, and the things that happened to me were far too terrible, are far too terrible still. There was light and noise, a flutter of wings that were not wings, a man screaming who both was and was not me. The press of other creatures tugging at my extremities, the seepage of one skin through another skin, the loss of most of one foot then the loss of most of the other, a man pounding on the door and begging in a voice not entirely his own to be set free. Evenson's unique imagination is on full display here as he weaves tales of identity, existensialism, and paranoia that are perfectly bite-sized. Some of my favorite stories here are: "Wanderlust," about a man who gets the feeling that someone's watching him and goes to great lengths to avoid the ever-present gaze "A Disappearance," a surprising tale about a man investigating the death of his best friend "No Matter Which Way She Turned," a moody story about a girl with no face "The Cardiacs," where a magician's trick fails in a dark and mysterious way "Line of Sight" and "Room Tone," two stories of filmmakers obsessed with the devil in the details and the title story, an unexpected, surprising story about a father's dedication to his daughter that takes dark turns. If you're looking for stories that stray from the normal and will linger in your subconcious long after reading, read Brian Evenson's novels and short stories. And this collection is a perfect place to start. After all, I already know I am not as stable as I have been led to believe. How hard could it possibly be to no longer be me?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

    Song for the Unravelling of the World is like a fever dream of nihilistic visions. It’s masterfully written, utterly captivating and there isn’t a bad story in the collection. I highly recommend this book, especially if you like your horror bleak and bizarre.

  4. 4 out of 5

    S̶e̶a̶n̶

    Brian Evenson seems to have reached a plateau in his short fiction. It is a high plateau, for sure, but I don't know if it's possible for him to climb any higher at this point without expanding his repertoire. This collection is a pretty typical blend of styles for him. I like his absurdist tendencies best, and unfortunately there wasn't a lot of that on display here. Instead there is a lot of paranoia, a lot of characters catching glimpses of the unknown just out of clear sight. There are also Brian Evenson seems to have reached a plateau in his short fiction. It is a high plateau, for sure, but I don't know if it's possible for him to climb any higher at this point without expanding his repertoire. This collection is a pretty typical blend of styles for him. I like his absurdist tendencies best, and unfortunately there wasn't a lot of that on display here. Instead there is a lot of paranoia, a lot of characters catching glimpses of the unknown just out of clear sight. There are also more women characters than usual, and a repetitious though not unwelcome filmmaking theme. More familiar were the barbs aimed at psychiatry and a continuing parade of some of the best character names found in contemporary fiction. My one complaint is that some of the endings were kind of weak, which I found disappointing as I've always thought Evenson does a good job with endings. A few favorite stories: 'Born Stillborn', 'Leaking Out', 'Room Tone', 'Shirts and Skins' (an exercise in extreme passivity), 'Wanderlust', and 'Lather of Flies' (winner of best title in the collection). Overall this was probably more like a 3.5 for me, but I rounded up in support of the stronger stories.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lex

    Every story here can be summarized as, "There's something unsettling. Maybe it gets slightly more unsettling; maybe it just stays the same level of unsettling. The end." Every story here can be summarized as, "There's something unsettling. Maybe it gets slightly more unsettling; maybe it just stays the same level of unsettling. The end."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Philip Fracassi

    SONG FOR THE UNRAVELING OF THE WORLD is another stunning collection by Evenson, who is easily the modern master of the weird tale. I found this collection to be incredibly charming, with surprising moments of delicious snark and bowls full of unsettling creepiness. These stories take place in worlds we don't see until it's too late. These are harrowing stories that involve very real people, and at times you feel their despair and at other times they horrify you with their actions. A stellar line SONG FOR THE UNRAVELING OF THE WORLD is another stunning collection by Evenson, who is easily the modern master of the weird tale. I found this collection to be incredibly charming, with surprising moments of delicious snark and bowls full of unsettling creepiness. These stories take place in worlds we don't see until it's too late. These are harrowing stories that involve very real people, and at times you feel their despair and at other times they horrify you with their actions. A stellar lineup of stories taking place in deep space, on planets not our own, in alternate rippling dimensions and - worst of all - our own backyards. Prepare to be immersed and captured by Evenson's prose and bizarre riffs on what happens when the surreal meets blind, unflinching terror. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Benoit Lelièvre

    Brian Evenson doesn't exaclty break new ground here, but he knows what he's good at and he does it better than anyone else. This collection explores Evenson's familiar themes of unknowability and existential alienation in his one again fun, but familiar settings: empty buildings, desolate houses, a skyscraper's ruins, etc. Perhaps my two favorite stories were A DISAPPEARANCE, which explores grief, judgement and appearances and SISTERS, which is just downright freaky. It could've been a straight Brian Evenson doesn't exaclty break new ground here, but he knows what he's good at and he does it better than anyone else. This collection explores Evenson's familiar themes of unknowability and existential alienation in his one again fun, but familiar settings: empty buildings, desolate houses, a skyscraper's ruins, etc. Perhaps my two favorite stories were A DISAPPEARANCE, which explores grief, judgement and appearances and SISTERS, which is just downright freaky. It could've been a straight up Twilight Zone episode. Enjoyed the hell out of this one, but I'm ready for a new Brian Evenson novel.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Brian Evenson is the king of creepy fiction and this collection deftly displays his range - from science to speculative fiction and the more subtle paranoia of mental horror genres, every story packs a powerful punch. Eerie and urgent, these stories are drenched in ambiguity and dread. They are hypnotically nightmarish and ruthlessly tease the reader by witholding just the right amount of detail to keep us ravenously craving more without turning us off. Some of my favorites include "No Matter Wh Brian Evenson is the king of creepy fiction and this collection deftly displays his range - from science to speculative fiction and the more subtle paranoia of mental horror genres, every story packs a powerful punch. Eerie and urgent, these stories are drenched in ambiguity and dread. They are hypnotically nightmarish and ruthlessly tease the reader by witholding just the right amount of detail to keep us ravenously craving more without turning us off. Some of my favorites include "No Matter Which Way We Turned" in which a girl appears to only show the back of her head, no matter which way you turned her; "Song For the Unraveling of the World" where an estranged husband and father kidnaps his young daughter only to lose her again in baffling way; the deliciously post apocalyptic "The Tower" where survivors live in holes and fight off strange scavengers while living under the shadow of a mysterious (you guessed it) tower; "The Hole" and "Lord of the Vats" which focus on aliend horror, both taking place in outer space, and tormenting us with what we don't know, forcing us to fill in the blanks with what we might, and leaving us with more questions than answers; "Wanderlust" plays with the idea of time in a delightful way, and the frightening scenario in "Line of Sight" in which a lead character is replaced by something otherworldy during a film shoot. Since discovering Evenson through the audio of his novel Immobility, every book of his I read just continues to solidify him as one of my favorite writers. There's simply nothing he can't write!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elise

    Starts off well, but soon after, the formula becomes apparent. "Trigger Warnings" is such a whiny boomer screed that it lowered my opinion of the entire collection. Starts off well, but soon after, the formula becomes apparent. "Trigger Warnings" is such a whiny boomer screed that it lowered my opinion of the entire collection.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marie-Therese

    3.5 stars This was a bit more uneven than I've come to expect from Brian Evenson, with a surfeit of rather unengaging and surprisingly graceless stories at the beginning of the volume. I'll admit that I was almost ready to give up on the book when I came upon "The Second Door". I immediately remembered this as being an impressive story I'd already read in Looming Low:Volume I and Year's Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 5 and wasn't surprised that I liked it just as much on a third reading. After that, ei 3.5 stars This was a bit more uneven than I've come to expect from Brian Evenson, with a surfeit of rather unengaging and surprisingly graceless stories at the beginning of the volume. I'll admit that I was almost ready to give up on the book when I came upon "The Second Door". I immediately remembered this as being an impressive story I'd already read in Looming Low:Volume I and Year's Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 5 and wasn't surprised that I liked it just as much on a third reading. After that, either my mood changed or the stories improved, but I found most good to excellent, with a nice balance of humour, horror, and existential angst. There's even some Lovecraftiana. Well worth reading to the end.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Brian Evenson On his new story collection, writing, recommendations, and inspirations | More2Read Girl with no face, therapy, therapists and being born still, fathers search for daughter missing with hint of her singing there but not there, reflections on parents and a sister dead, a strange home and dilemma, filmmaking by any means necessary, Hrafndis stragglers and the tower, a guy with gold suite and face on wrong side of his head, Man feeling.. someone is watching me, Crew gone expect one or two Brian Evenson On his new story collection, writing, recommendations, and inspirations | More2Read Girl with no face, therapy, therapists and being born still, fathers search for daughter missing with hint of her singing there but not there, reflections on parents and a sister dead, a strange home and dilemma, filmmaking by any means necessary, Hrafndis stragglers and the tower, a guy with gold suite and face on wrong side of his head, Man feeling.. someone is watching me, Crew gone expect one or two in a vessel the Vorag in the universe, to a man have hard time believing one is his sister, to name a few, a collection of thought provoking speculative snippets and scenes contained within this collection. Complexities, oddities, and fates, taken to different realms and worlds, a myriad of characters created with various themes including the wonderfully weird involved, visionary works, enter The Brian Evenson Zone! Review also @ More2read

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shane Hawk

    Probably my favorite literary horror collection to date. Evenson’s ideas and prose are to be envied. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him and they’ve ranged from horror to sci-fi to crime noir. This collection was published 2018, so like a band or artist, I anticipate some new release of writing now that we are halfway through 2020 😋 Standout stories for me were: No Matter Which Way We Turned Sisters Room Tone The Tower Lord of the Vats Line of Sight Trigger Warnings (lmao, what a riot) Kindred Spirit

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shane Douglas Douglas

    Full review on Ink Heist if you're so inclined, but seriously. No words are adequate to describe or praise the eloquence and beauty of Brian Evenson's wonderful narratives. Only a read of the book will give you an inkling of the magic it contains. I can't recommend it enough. Buy it. Read it. You will love it. Full review on Ink Heist if you're so inclined, but seriously. No words are adequate to describe or praise the eloquence and beauty of Brian Evenson's wonderful narratives. Only a read of the book will give you an inkling of the magic it contains. I can't recommend it enough. Buy it. Read it. You will love it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leo Robertson

    Extremely cool nightmares!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brendan

    This is my first experience reading Evenson, and these are fantastic stories. Pushing the boundaries between good old fashioned horror and something closer to Weird Fiction, the stories collected here are visceral and raw, yet the minimalist style only adds to the dread and forboding. I'll definitely be checking out more of his books after this one. This is my first experience reading Evenson, and these are fantastic stories. Pushing the boundaries between good old fashioned horror and something closer to Weird Fiction, the stories collected here are visceral and raw, yet the minimalist style only adds to the dread and forboding. I'll definitely be checking out more of his books after this one.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    As with most short story collections, these varied quite a bit in quality, and should probably have been spaced out further than I did - after awhile a sameness set in and they weren't quite as surprising as initially thought. It is appropriate that the author has won awards named after O. Henry and Shirley Jackson, as both seem to have been models for these. Fun to read during Halloween though, as most have a spooky quality - several would make great 'Twilight Zone' episodes. As with most short story collections, these varied quite a bit in quality, and should probably have been spaced out further than I did - after awhile a sameness set in and they weren't quite as surprising as initially thought. It is appropriate that the author has won awards named after O. Henry and Shirley Jackson, as both seem to have been models for these. Fun to read during Halloween though, as most have a spooky quality - several would make great 'Twilight Zone' episodes.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Ward

    Brian Evenson's stories are almost always excellent, and this collection is no different. More unsettling than terrifying, most of these tales turn on the uncanny, particularly by doubling ("The Second Door"; "Wanderlust"; "Kindred Spirit"), but also on the sense of dislocation and dread found in unreliable perception and sensory anomalies ("Smear"; "Glasses"; "Line of Sight"). Some do both, because Evenson is just that good. I would be remiss if I didn't also note that the short, sharp, "Trigge Brian Evenson's stories are almost always excellent, and this collection is no different. More unsettling than terrifying, most of these tales turn on the uncanny, particularly by doubling ("The Second Door"; "Wanderlust"; "Kindred Spirit"), but also on the sense of dislocation and dread found in unreliable perception and sensory anomalies ("Smear"; "Glasses"; "Line of Sight"). Some do both, because Evenson is just that good. I would be remiss if I didn't also note that the short, sharp, "Trigger Warnings" made me laugh out loud. Several times. Inappropriately. It's a jewel. 5 stars; a weird horror master at the top of his game. Best of 2019.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    It’s always exciting when our library acquires something new and scary for their digital catalog and obviously I just had to check it out if only to show support for their choices. And then I went to amazon for the page count (never begin a book without it) and noticed a list of praise for this collection, it went on and on and on. I mean, the best of words, the highest of accolades from the most respectable sources/authors/etc. Can a book possibly live up to such praises? Seemed impossible and It’s always exciting when our library acquires something new and scary for their digital catalog and obviously I just had to check it out if only to show support for their choices. And then I went to amazon for the page count (never begin a book without it) and noticed a list of praise for this collection, it went on and on and on. I mean, the best of words, the highest of accolades from the most respectable sources/authors/etc. Can a book possibly live up to such praises? Seemed impossible and yet…this one did. It really freaking did. It’s the strangest and darkest of collections that straddles genres and tones and moods and yet somehow it just sings, which makes it most appropriately titled for one thing. There’s something about the quality of writing, the breadth of imagination that draws you in immediately, but then it grabs and doesn’t let go, not for a minute. In fact, this was pretty much a one sitting read for me, longish but not impossible to do, and I’m not sure if that’s the best way to go with this book or it’s more suitable for dipping in and out, except that it’s really difficult to put down, because you can’t wait to find out what the author comes up with next. Genre wise it goes from horrific to science fiction, from thriller to drama, sometimes within the same story. The narrative employs both natural and supernatural elements seamlessly. It’s twists and turns and gets to you, it’s demented, dark and strange. Essentially, Evenson writes nightmares. Or at least nightmares as I understand them. Strikingly effective, profoundly disturbing scenarios that make sleep such a dangerous proposition. There are some themes he revisits time and again, the skins, the kind that might crawl away from their owners. The movie making industry…personally my favorites. Wherein the science fiction ones might have been my least favorite. But overall, every story here works to its optimal terrifying effect. Even someone who reads a lot of genre, a seasoned fan, would be delighted and disturbed by this collection. Evenson is obviously an immensely talented author and an expert archaeologist of the most caliginous corners of the mind and soul. Fans of dark psychological fiction…this is the one. Recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Micah Hall

    4/5 Brian Evenson's fit squarely in the surreal horror category for me. This collection has many tales (20+) with each story averaging around 6-7 pages. As such, it made for a refreshing reset after my longer reads. While on the shorter end of things, Evenson is a supreme talent in how much existentialism, mood, and aura of mystery that he can evoke. His prose is matter of fact but punchy. The way he frames his stories are always interesting as well: most of the characters have odd names, there a 4/5 Brian Evenson's fit squarely in the surreal horror category for me. This collection has many tales (20+) with each story averaging around 6-7 pages. As such, it made for a refreshing reset after my longer reads. While on the shorter end of things, Evenson is a supreme talent in how much existentialism, mood, and aura of mystery that he can evoke. His prose is matter of fact but punchy. The way he frames his stories are always interesting as well: most of the characters have odd names, there are opening or closing lines that tease out the undefinable horrors, and flow of consciousness is usually utilized. Overall, Evenson is a top weird horror writer and has a high degree of readability.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Agranoff

    Maybe this is not the most appropriate time to write an elegy for a writer but hear me out. I know we have lots and lots of years left of Brian Evenson stories but last week we lost Dennis Etchison. If you are not familiar with Dennis he was a writer who despite a few novels, screenplays, and radio dramas was an absolute master of short horror fiction. As a short story writer few reached the level of balancing creepy, delusional and paranoid scares that Dennis Etchison did with 10 or so pages. A Maybe this is not the most appropriate time to write an elegy for a writer but hear me out. I know we have lots and lots of years left of Brian Evenson stories but last week we lost Dennis Etchison. If you are not familiar with Dennis he was a writer who despite a few novels, screenplays, and radio dramas was an absolute master of short horror fiction. As a short story writer few reached the level of balancing creepy, delusional and paranoid scares that Dennis Etchison did with 10 or so pages. All with a level of literary prose that is equal to the strength of writers in any genre. This collection like Evenson’s last "A Collapse of Horses" gives me that same feeling that Dennis did. There is rare company at this level of quality. Song for the Unraveling of the World is a truly and deeply amazing collection of horror that has every right to be shelved in the same section of the bookstore as Clive Barker and David Foster Wallace, Ursula Leguin and Louise Erdrich. He is that freaking good. This book features just over a dozen short stories, there are certainly a few that stand out as stronger than others but there are no stinkers in the bunch. Not every collection can boast like that. If forced to explain what makes this collection different from his Collapse of Horses (which has my favorite Evenson story "Any Corpse")it is the the surreal nature of the stories. Evenson is always weird but in this collection he is using words to warp reality on almost every page. Sometimes it is subtle, other times it is jaw dropping, but always done with beautiful razor sharp prose. My favorite stories in this collection play with themes of false skin and go closer to more straight forward sci-fi by going into space. The Story "Smear" is a fantastic sci-fi horror story that has one of the most subtle yet scary monsters I can recall. The monster was just a feeling, fleeting something just beyond sight, but goddamn did it creep me out. "The Lord of Vats" might be my absolute favorite this super PKD style sci-fi story is one of the coolest and creepy takes on hypersleep I have ever read. In the short page count this story explores what is reality?, what is human? All that and it has a great reversal. On the straight horror side I loved "Sisters", "The Tower", the title story and the entry from the Lost Films Anthology "Lather of Flies." Sisters is a great Halloween story but don't mistake that for a traditional horror story. I struggle with even trying to describe that one. The Tower is a cool post apocalyptic story, and the title story has some of the most unsettling moments of character paranoia and delusion in a book filled with that feeling. Evenson has quickly become one of my favorite working authors, and his work is a must read, I mean all of it. I read a few of these before they were collected. There is something about reading Evenson stories collected. I hang on every word, each story is strong. If you are not reading Evenson you are missing one of the best weird fiction voices. Thank you Coffee House Press for giving me an arc, keep your eyes peeled for Brian Returning to the Dickheads Podcast, in the mean time you can look up the interview we did with him about his fantastic novella The Warren.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pearse Anderson

    Read half of this during my Beijing 10 hour layover and was like uuh OK and then I set it down and left it. I'm so sorry, Evenson, I respect you as a figurehead but was unable to connect with this book. If I can be frank, and I don't know if I should, one work I could use to describe this collection would be "easy." It made me realize how easy it could actually be to produce work like this. Sorry, again, it's just interesting. Makes me think I can become as good of a writer. These stories feel al Read half of this during my Beijing 10 hour layover and was like uuh OK and then I set it down and left it. I'm so sorry, Evenson, I respect you as a figurehead but was unable to connect with this book. If I can be frank, and I don't know if I should, one work I could use to describe this collection would be "easy." It made me realize how easy it could actually be to produce work like this. Sorry, again, it's just interesting. Makes me think I can become as good of a writer. These stories feel all a bit empty, a bit hokey, they have that sense of trying to be a lot more than they are, like a bedsheet-ghost. Where's my muscle! Compare "Shirts and Skins" to John Jodzio's "Duplex." Or "The Tower" with Matt Bell's "The Stations." These stories have such different weights and one of them feels like "literature" and the other feels more like bones. All of the stories I read in the first half of this book were about men, alone and isolated and without real rounded backgrounds, being unreliable narrators before being eaten by various monsters that appear to be men. Evenson likes to describe things as looking like they've been "licked clean." Additionally, his characters like to stare at things and have no sense of how much time is passing. OK. Not anything I'm super excited about. NYT Summer Reading List had this up there, which surprised me. I'd give it a 4/10, DNF.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sean McGowan

    What's scarier, the ways we delude ourselves to the point of insanity and paranoia, or a big scary alien monster from another dimension? Trick question dipshit you don't have to decide because this book has both. Evenson's short stories, specifically his sci-fi, reminded me of Saunders'. There's that same love for strange details, names, made-up jargon—and while both explore humanity at its darkest, I feel like Saunders is more optimistic than Evenson. Favorite stories: Glasses, Shirts & Skins, What's scarier, the ways we delude ourselves to the point of insanity and paranoia, or a big scary alien monster from another dimension? Trick question dipshit you don't have to decide because this book has both. Evenson's short stories, specifically his sci-fi, reminded me of Saunders'. There's that same love for strange details, names, made-up jargon—and while both explore humanity at its darkest, I feel like Saunders is more optimistic than Evenson. Favorite stories: Glasses, Shirts & Skins, Room Tone (Room Tone is so fucking good) I also have to mention the story 'Trigger Warning', a completely unreadable satirical piece that lambasts the supposed pandemic of PC culture. The irony here is that someone like Evenson, an author so talented at eliciting terror and disgust and shock with just a few well placed words, dismisses trigger warnings because, hey, it's "just fiction". None of it's real! It's beyond me how someone so skilled at wielding words couldn't understand how they could to take readers back to horrible places they might never want to revisit.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

    Another gonzo-genius collection of weird-horror short stories from one of the Modern Masters. There's really no way to describe any of what goes on within, other than to speak of it in an oblique sense of the style: the author not only has one of the most unique imaginations going, but his technical skill level should be hung up in the Hall of Semantic Wordplay with tassles made from butchered unicorn hair. You can imagine any author killing small babies just to have one of these qualities; yet h Another gonzo-genius collection of weird-horror short stories from one of the Modern Masters. There's really no way to describe any of what goes on within, other than to speak of it in an oblique sense of the style: the author not only has one of the most unique imaginations going, but his technical skill level should be hung up in the Hall of Semantic Wordplay with tassles made from butchered unicorn hair. You can imagine any author killing small babies just to have one of these qualities; yet here is a (supposedly) carbon-based lifeform with both in one body. Mr. Hell-Demon, blood shots all around! See also A Collapse of Horses.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    2.5 Read the first 2/3 of the stories before feeling that they were all becoming repetitive, so skimmed the end. The author kind of has the same gimmick going for almost all the stories ie (view spoiler)[ Protagonist senses something slightly wrong, and becomes obsessed/seduced by this anomaly. Weird thing kills protagonist (hide spoiler)] . Perhaps better read with more time apart. Also, yes, these are short stories, but all the characters were flat, as if more like fairy tales. 2.5 Read the first 2/3 of the stories before feeling that they were all becoming repetitive, so skimmed the end. The author kind of has the same gimmick going for almost all the stories ie (view spoiler)[ Protagonist senses something slightly wrong, and becomes obsessed/seduced by this anomaly. Weird thing kills protagonist (hide spoiler)] . Perhaps better read with more time apart. Also, yes, these are short stories, but all the characters were flat, as if more like fairy tales.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Alexander

    A clever, quiet, disturbing collection, Songs for the Unraveling of the World offers slivers of the uncanny. Story after story disorients us, either as protagonists experience a world askew, or as they themselves are not what we expect, or both. Some of the stories proceed dreamily yet without much action, just incrementally adding touches of weirdness until they expire, faintly. Others are playful, almost joyous in how they celebrate terror, like the splendid Halloween tale "Sisters." And at lea A clever, quiet, disturbing collection, Songs for the Unraveling of the World offers slivers of the uncanny. Story after story disorients us, either as protagonists experience a world askew, or as they themselves are not what we expect, or both. Some of the stories proceed dreamily yet without much action, just incrementally adding touches of weirdness until they expire, faintly. Others are playful, almost joyous in how they celebrate terror, like the splendid Halloween tale "Sisters." And at least one, "Trigger Warnings," is just funny as heck. Evenson is quite skilled at small touches of language. From the first line of "The Disappearance" we never learn the name of an antagonist's spouse, which insinuates something cruel in the narrator, which turns out to be true. "Born Stillborn" has a dreamlike focus on mundane details, even in its strange premise (the main character has two therapists, one for day, the other for night), until ruminations on those details builds to horror:He bought an apple. He ate it slowly, puncturing the skin with his teeth and chewing the skin up along with the rest of the apple, except for the seeds and pith. An apple wasn’t like a banana, he thought. His night therapist was wrong. They both had skin, but with an apple you could eat the skin, and with a banana you couldn’t. You could peel a banana easily with your fingers; an apple you couldn’t. To peel an apple of its skin, you needed a knife. A person was more like an apple than a banana. You couldn’t peel a person easily with your fingers. With a person, person, you needed a knife. With a person, like an apple, you could eat the skin. (p. 7) This isn't Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith territory, where splendid vocabularies build an otherworldly atmosphere. It's more homely than that. The collection's opening story uses everyday, minimal language to show something disturbing, then quickly makes it much more horrific. Recommended.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Seb

    Brian Evenson's collection, "Song for the Unraveling of the World" is probably one of the most beautiful funerary chants ever written in American literature. However, even if most of the stories could appear grim or downright terrifying, I would still consider this book a wake, in the Irish and Joycean sense, than a depressing mourning gathering. To me, Evenson is at the exact distance between Franz Kafka and Shirley Jackson. Like them, he has a taste for the absurd and the uncanny, of what alie Brian Evenson's collection, "Song for the Unraveling of the World" is probably one of the most beautiful funerary chants ever written in American literature. However, even if most of the stories could appear grim or downright terrifying, I would still consider this book a wake, in the Irish and Joycean sense, than a depressing mourning gathering. To me, Evenson is at the exact distance between Franz Kafka and Shirley Jackson. Like them, he has a taste for the absurd and the uncanny, of what alienates and provokes us, but also this immensely subtle tongue-in-cheek - and sometimes even empathic - humor that characterizes them. A statement of the failure of humanity and its grand purpose, "Songs" is also a saga of broken figures that shine - not through their ordeals - but because of their ordeals. No one becomes a saint, there is no redemption - there are, instead, solutions and resolutions, sometimes for the second best, usually for the worst. And yet, when all is lost, all is also found. And there, my friends, lies the beautiful tragedy of this collection. PS: I would like to also mention the stunning cover illustration of the book by Sarah Evenson, which fits perfectly with the collection.

  27. 5 out of 5

    William M.

    If you don't already know, Brian Evenson is a very special genre artist. He writes on a level that 99% of other writers can't even begin to reach on their best day. This collection does not have one bad, or even average story. If I HAD to pick my favorites, the top 5 would be No Matter Which Way We Turned, Sisters, A Disappearance, Wanderlust, and Line of Sight. My favorite, Lather of Flies, was the final story of the collection and an amazing way to end it. I will forever buy this man's work as If you don't already know, Brian Evenson is a very special genre artist. He writes on a level that 99% of other writers can't even begin to reach on their best day. This collection does not have one bad, or even average story. If I HAD to pick my favorites, the top 5 would be No Matter Which Way We Turned, Sisters, A Disappearance, Wanderlust, and Line of Sight. My favorite, Lather of Flies, was the final story of the collection and an amazing way to end it. I will forever buy this man's work as long as he writes. Fans of fiction, horror, and weird fiction should purchase this gem and rejoice with the rest of us.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rodrigo Nemmen

    Caution: strange tales. Caution: creepy dimensions with oozing beings. Caution: strange films. Refreshing short stories. Creepy, creepy, creepy. Loved it!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Burris

    I never like short story books. I liked this one. Good eerie, weird dark? short stories. “Trigger Warnings” is fun to read out loud.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Lynn Kramer

    DNFing Seeing as anthologies tend to be a mixed bag I normally would have tried to read a few more stories before calling it quits. However with every one I did read I had the same question at the end, am I missing something. Currently Songs doesn't have as many reviews as other books however the majority of them are shining with mentions of unsettling and captivation pieces. For me they sadly came across as unfinished or worse, misused. Leaking Out had a promising start but tripped over itse DNFing Seeing as anthologies tend to be a mixed bag I normally would have tried to read a few more stories before calling it quits. However with every one I did read I had the same question at the end, am I missing something. Currently Songs doesn't have as many reviews as other books however the majority of them are shining with mentions of unsettling and captivation pieces. For me they sadly came across as unfinished or worse, misused. Leaking Out had a promising start but tripped over itself during the middle, leaving the end unsatisfying. Then there was Song for the Unraveling, another promising start but things went in what I found to be an anticlimactic direction. Sure it could be considered more realistic horror but after that opening I was hoping for something otherworldly. I don't want to trash this book to hard as I'm not going to finish it and I could see potential so I'll leave off saying Evenson caters to a specific taste. What exactly that is I can't say, I just know it's not mine.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...