Book review: Sing Me Your Scars

Title: Sing Me Your Scars

Author: Damien Angelica Walters

Publisher: Apex Publications

Date Published: 2015

Category: weird fiction, small press, female authors, short stories, horror

I haven’t felt this way about a collection of short stories since I read Thomas Ligotti’s Songs of a Dead Dreamer. Walters’s collection of short stories is haunting, creepy, and beautiful. The author makes mundane terrors seems otherworldly, and the otherworldly seems strangely familiar. I seriously needed to pause in between tales due to the heaviness of each story.

The stories were at times abstract and symbolic; others were more easily taken at face value. One story shows the horrors of Alzheimer’s disease, while another of domestic violence. Themes include loss, being out of touch of reality, and overcoming past oppression.

The settings of each story varied, but did not seem to take place in any particular concrete reality. The stories felt Lovecraftian, although I can’t really put my finger on exactly why. The subject matter did not overtly deal with beings from beyond destroying the sanity of the protagonists, but I did get a feeling of cosmic dread at times.

Some tales are more abstract and symbolic than others, but all are deep and multilayered. Sometimes, in short stories, abstractions go right over my head and I don’t stay interested. However, in this collection, I could not stop reading. The stories can be enjoyed at face value and can be enjoyed on a deeper level too. She masterfully weaves the story into the viewpoint of the protagonist and as reader I found myself engaged in the worldview and trying to figure my way out and find out what happens. Sometimes I felt lost and cloistered, right along with the protagonist. Some tales are more abstract and symbolic than others, but all are deep and multilayered. Her writing style is melodic and flowing.

I liked every story in this book. Some were more gripping than others but all were good. I would recommend this book to any fans of weird fiction and horror. In Sing Me Your Scars, the horror is not always obvious but something that creeps up on you and you can only see at the corner of your eye. Her voice is unique and definitely worth reading.

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