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Twice Dead Things by A.A. Attanasio
Review by Carolyn Frank
Elder Signs Press Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0975922998
Date: 15 April 2007 List Price $16.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Twice Dead Things is a collection of short stories ranging from fantasy to horror to lyrical evocations of some very weird concepts. Categorized by the author into Eight Stories, Some Experiments, and the Next Horizon, all of the tales feature the rapturous use of language to convey the essence of things.

The eight short stories are reprinted from other compendiums published during the past two decades, as are some of the Experiments, but all treat with the nearly dead, the recently dead, the never dead, the un-dead and such. The Experiments are mostly prose poems, in a Lovecraftian vein. The lofty, flowery and convoluted language is used to convey a horrific concept, often drawing the reader down into a never-ending spiral of dread. The Next Horizon is a vampire tale titled "Twice Dead Things: Investigations of the Fractal Blood Soul." Told from the perspective of a middle-aged yoga instructor from New Jersey who does not believe or even understand vampires to start, this is an evocative story of coming to deal with a very strange reality.

The physical world is of our own, but most actions occur on the edge of our reality. If the reader is willing to go along with the imaginative and boundless flow of the story, a radically different perspective is presented. In these tales, minds and bodies are easily disconnected, and what happens to the mind or soul or whatever the non-physical part is called, is the important part. Most of these stories are all in someone's head, as the mind or soul attempts to address the great questions of "why are we here" or "what is the purpose for being" or "how can we attain peace". The language uses the ornate flourishing vocabulary and metaphors of Lovecraft and his followers, which vividly presents non-visible concepts such as the agony of wraiths or resiliency of souls. If the reader desires a strange imagination of ideas, conveyed through the most expressive language, with an emphasis on the edge of dead, then these stories provide such substance.

Our Readers Respond

From the author: A. A. Attanasio
    Ms Frank's review of my story collection, Twice Dead Things, offers a perspective of eloquence, accuracy and insight not merely of observation but of witness. Such sensitivity to a work's aesthetic and literary concerns provides important satisfaction to an author. Thank you!

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