If there’s a writer out there worth surviving for, it is Caitlin R. Kiernan, whose trippy, groundbreaking collection THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN (Tachyon, paper, $18.95) is pure genius. Paging through it, I found references to David Bowie, the fossil record, H. P. Lovecraft, the Hindu Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the massacre of a unicorn, life on Mars, Gustave Doré, absinthe, South American jungles and King Kong — and that’s just a cursory glance. There is simply nothing out there quite like her.
Which may explain why Kiernan, who has published over 250 short stories and 14 novels, is usually classified as a horror writer, that genre for all things weird and amorphous. In his introduction, Richard Kadrey suggests we call her a writer of “dark fantasy” or “weird tales” instead. I don’t care where you shelve her books — good writing is good writing, however you classify it — as long as we call Kiernan what she is: an underappreciated master whose vision expresses itself through vast geographic expanses, gender fluidity, geological upheaval, lingering forces of evil, the horror and beauty of the natural world and the mythic architecture of the human mind. Kiernan is transformative. Read her and be changed.
Whatever feelings her stories raise for you, they are sure to be intense. If you haven’t read her work before, these stories are a good place to begin. Like Hannah, you might find yourself getting lost in the mirror. The scary thing is, you’ll want to stay there.
Photo: Kyle Cassidy
At Austin’s BookPeople, the Nightmare Factory Book Club’s April selection is THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN.
Come join our crypt-keepers, Joe and Jerome, every third Tuesday of the month with our horrific book club, THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNANy. This month’s book is The Very Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan.
Book club books are 10% off for those attending the meeting!
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 – 7:00pm
For more info about THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN, visit the Tachyon page.