Brian Evenson’s most recent collection, Song for the Unraveling of the World, illuminates the apocalyptic and dread. Evil encompasses the lives of every character in these 22 stories. Sometimes it is sneaky and unpredictable, sometimes it is staring right at you and you don’t even know it. There is no knowing what you are getting yourself into.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this collection. I hadn’t read any reviews and the synopsis did not give me much insight. But when I opened the book to page 1 and read “No Matter Which Way We Turned,” a two-page story about a faceless girl, I was wonderfully surprised.
Themes of paranoia, duplicity and secret identities are prevalent throughout the collection. In “Room Tone,” a filmmaker is on a quest to capture the perfect silence for the final scene for his movie. He will do anything and everything for that silence, and the twist is so unexpected and brutal I had to reread it a few times to fully wrap my head around the series of events. “A Disappearance” is even more sinister, in which a man’s best friend has disappeared and her husband might have something to do with it.
Evenson’s prose is soft, sometimes comical and perpetually dark. The twists and reveals are brutal and shocking, and the journey to them are an even better trip. The characters exist in a universe that gave me heavy Twilight Zone vibes. It is as dark and cruel and beautiful as the world we live in, but with a different flavor of disturbances and surrealism.
Song for the Unraveling World is a unique collection of psychological horror stories. Evenson builds tension in the most subtle disquieting ways. This 200 page collection is an unnerving read worth your attention.(4 / 5)
Don’t forget to check out what else we’re reading here at Haunted MTL.
Cover photo from Goodreads.