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Coppice & Brake: A Dark Fiction Anthology Kindle Edition
"...Coppice & Brake has a story for everyone. With meditations on guilt, loss, fear, and destiny, this is a strong anthology of timely existential horror." -We Who Walk Here --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B08GSTDD7Q
- Publisher : Crone Girls Press (August 26, 2020)
- Publication date : August 26, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 4033 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 309 pages
- Lending : Enabled
Best Sellers Rank:
#264,113 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #538 in Horror Short Stories
- #583 in Horror Anthologies (Books)
- #735 in Fantasy Anthologies & Short Stories (Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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As with any anthology, some stories will resonate with a reader more than others. With 23 stories to choose from, you’re sure to have your own favorites. I’d like to highlight a few of mine, though I have plenty of praise for most of the stories in this engrossing collection.
I have a deep love for fairy tales, and there are three in this anthology that struck a chord with me. “Raff and the Scissor-Finger” by R. K. Duncan eerily conveys the importance of knowing your lore and being careful with your words when dealing with faeries. “Terracotta Daughter” by J. Z. Ting is a suspenseful, feminist tale of magic presented within a subtle framing device that tells readers so much by not telling us much at all. “The Red Shoes” by Holly Lyn Walrath is an intriguing retelling of a classic story that makes the reader sympathize with the wicked witch of the woods. Like most good fairy tales, all three stories are dark and mournfully ironic.
My absolute favorite entry was “White-Tail Lies” by Friedrich Sarah E. Thompson. This unique, arresting piece is a breathtaking metaphor for the closeted queer experience. Although “White-Tail Lies” was my favorite, C. M. Harris’s “A Woman Unbecoming” was probably the most cathartic story in the collection. I took copious notes on most of these stories, but my first comment on this one simply said: “YES.” This story is pure rage, a primal shout against misogyny and toxic masculinity.
Two of my favorite stories have become even more relatable since I started reading the collection a few weeks ago, dealing as they do with the trauma of living in an economy that sees so many workers as disposable. “Cold Dread and Hot Slices” by Spencer Koelle, a Lovecraftian story of minimum wage food service, gave me flashbacks to countless jobs where I just tried to survive every shift. Though I can’t possibly understand the protagonist’s struggles as she navigates the world as a trans woman, I had a visceral connection to one of the ideas I believe is symbolized by the shapeshifting pink blob that torments her at her job. The monster ebbs and flows; she can’t always see it, but she knows it’s always there, waiting to attack her in a vulnerable moment. This amorphous, omnipresent menace is (among other things) a profound metaphor for suicidal ideation. You never know when it’s coming; you only know that it is coming.
The second of these increasingly relatable stories is the gleefully weird “Swing a Dead Cat” by Shannon Scott. It closes out the anthology, and I see why editor Rachel A. Brune chose it for the job. With tongue-in-cheek critiques of academia (particularly low teacher pay), grim humor, a campy but incisive sci-fi premise, and a killer final line, it’s a perfect way to end this collection of darkly satisfying tales.
As you can see by the variety of stories I chose as my favorites, Coppice & Brake has a story for everyone. With meditations on guilt, loss, fear, and destiny, this is a strong anthology of timely existential horror.
“Dog’s Blood Trail” by Gabrielle Bleu and “Swing a Dead Cat” by Shannon Scott bookend the anthology with levels of horror and violence I was not prepared for, and I mean only praise by saying so. These were surprising, shocking stories, one of them very serious, the other very funny.
Editor Rachel A. Brune’s arrangement of the other stories in between these two sent me on a journey over a variegated terrain of narratives super dark, heartbreaking, grotesque, fast-paced, slow-paced, beautiful, heartwarming, and life-affirming. The diversity of characters, including LGBT characters, made me so happy, made me feel welcome, let me see the world through other perspectives. “Cold Dread and Hot Slices” by Spencer Koelle, “Eccentric on the Grandest of Scales” by Voss Foster, and “All the Dead Girls, Singing” by Avra Margariti are just a few of several examples of LGBT representation where neither identity nor story are neglected. “Terracotta Daughter” by JZ Ting challenged me with a complex protagonist, “Trumpet Voluntary” by Edmund Schluessel with the horrifying apathy of it’s protagonist, and “In the Forests of the Night” by Joanna Michal Hoyt with the central relationship so profoundly affected at the end by the events of the story.
Various genres are represented in these dark pages, including the fairy tales of “Raff and the Scissor-Finger” by R.K. Duncan and “The Red Shoes” brilliantly retold by Holly Lyn Walrath; the ghost stories of “Tones of Memories” by Julie Novakova and “Ghost Story” by Jeff Dosser; the fabulism of “Keys Without Locks” by C. Patrick Neagle and the aforementioned “Swing a Dead Cat” by Shannon Scott; the dark science fiction of “Like a Cat” by Brian K. Lowe and the aforementioned “Trumpet Voluntary” by Edmund Schluessel; and the outright horror of “The Rat Room” by Rebecca Dale, “The Homeless Special” by Andrew Jensen, and “The Play Date” by James Van Pelt, which, like many of these stories, is cross-genre and genre bending, including elements of fantasy, science fiction, and various subgenres.
“White-Tail Lies” by Friedrich Sarah E. Thompson reminds me favorable of stories written by Alyssa Wong, one of my favorite authors, but is unique and beautiful and affirming all on its own. So many stories in this anthology were life-affirming, including “The Anomaly” by David J. Thirteen, or satisfyingly triumphant even when especially dark, like “A Woman Unbecoming” by CM Harris. “Shiny People” by Elizabeth Donald is a great story with a chilling final sentence I cannot get out of my head. Most of the pieces are short stories, but one of the flash fiction pieces, “Catch of the Day” by Karter Mycroft, is a favorite among favorites.
"Coppice & Brake" is the second anthology from Crone Girls Press. I just ordered the first and I’m looking forward to many more.