The recently released THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN offers a thrilleresque experience.
INFINITE TEXT was excited by the collection.
What is truly intriguing and captivating in Kiernan’s work is her atmosphere and writing style. I will warn readers, however, that aside from the grotesque, there are many instances of swearing in this work (it did not interfere with my personal reading experience). It’s a thrilleresque experience, rough around the edges.
This collection is not for everyone, and that’s okay. Kiernan writes in a dark niche corner of literature, and I think she directs her writings at a very specific kind of audience. I would recommend this collection to you if you enjoy the works of: Shirley Jackson, Victor Lavalle, Nick Mamatas, Angela Carter, David Lynch, H.P. Lovecraft, or Cosmic Horror. If you have not read any of the listed authors, but you want to get out of your comfort zone and try something different, Kiernan might be a great place to start.
Nisi Shawl at THE SEATTLE REVIEW OF BOOKS is thrilled of book’s existence.
A collection rather than an anthology, THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN (Tachyon) hews to one style, uttering its fabulations in one piercingly delicious voice. My personal favorite, “The Maltese Unicorn,” dishes up a Dashiell Hammett-esque crime narrative in a setting filled with bisexual demons and enchanted dildos. Often decay appears as a near-sentient character in the fictional worlds Kiernan constructs; often wickedness and ineffability and fate acquire a palpable, practically tactile presence in prose both teasing and pleasing.
Let us be grateful that Tachyon’s Jacob Weisman and Jill Roberts have made appreciation much easier by curating this magnificent selection of Kiernan’s eerily beautiful oeuvre.
Photo: Kyle Cassidy
For HIGH FEVER BOOKS, Logan Noble praises the volume.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A best of collection is a wonderful concept. Especially if you’re writer Caitlín R. Kiernan, who has published over two hundred and fifty short stories. This is her third ‘Best of’ collection, which speaks to the absolute wealth of her bibliography. For THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN, Tachyon and the author decided to draw stories from her limited-edition publications. This is great, because it gives us an opportunity to experience works that we may have missed in the past. The stories within this collection are powerful and diverse, each one polished to perfection. You can see the hours of work poured into every page. I expected an incredible collection (Caitlín R. Kiernan never disappoints), and she truly delivered.
While I loved nearly every story in the collection, a few stood out for me. The Ape’s Wife is a sorrowful version of a story we know very well. La Peau Verte is a piece about the truth of fairy tales that ends with a gut punch. The Prayer of Ninety Cats is a horror tale told with a vivid cinematic flair.
‘The Very Best of’ is not hyperbole. This is a collection released by a multiple award winner at the top of her game. Each story is a testament to the power of fiction and the versatility of genre fiction as a whole.
Elaine Aldred of STRANGE ALLIANCES enjoys his first Kiernan experience.
Caitlín Kiernan slips comfortably between the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres, as well as modern nods to epic Gothic horror, at times melding them all together. If you like something dark and unsettling this is the collection for you. Put The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan down for a moment and you will feel the need to keep looking over your shoulder, or find yourself waking up with a sudden start in the middle of the night.
Creating a nagging sense of disquiet is something the author is very skilled at. Stories which slowly detach themselves from reality abound. There are also those which have no connection at all, but because the narrative is divorced from physical reality, there is always the psychology to work on, which Kiernan does ruthlessly, leaving the reader with the sense that they are reading something which might just swallow them whole and not bother to spit them out.
I’d never read any of Kiernan’s work until now, but this collection has certainly made me very interested in her writing, so I will hunt out her backlist and be on the lookout for any new work.
Adam Westcott at POLITICS AND PROSE recommends THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN.
For the past several years, Caitlin Kiernan has been writing some of the best weird stories to be published. Now you can score a nice bundle of them in this conveniently priced collection, THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN.
As does HAUNTED BY DEADLINES’ Ahlissa Eichhorn in Horror Novels by Female Authors You Can Buy Now.
I said it once, I’ll say it again; if you’re a horror fan and you’re not reading Kiernan, you’re messing up. Bound in gorgeous cover art, the title says it all. It’s a comprehensive selection and great for both new readers and weathered admirers.
For more info about THE VERY BEST OF CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN, visit the Tachyon page.