Cover image for A natural history of hell : stories
Title:
A natural history of hell : stories
Uniform Title:
Short stories. Selections
ISBN:
9781618731180
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
279 pages ; 22 cm
Contents:
The blameless -- Word doll -- The angel seems -- Mount Chary Galore -- A natural history of autumn -- Blood drive -- A terror -- Rocket ship to hell -- The fairy enterprise -- The last triangle -- Spirits of salt : A tale of the coral heart -- The thyme fiend -- The prelate's commission.
Summary:
"Emily Dickinson takes a carriage ride with Death. A couple are invited over to a neighbor's daughter's exorcism. A country witch with a sea-captain's head in a glass globe intercedes on behalf of abused and abandoned children. A book of fantastic stories about the hell on earth that is living"--
Holds:

Available:*

Library
Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Copies
Status
Searching...
Book SCI_FI FANTASY FOR 1 1
Searching...
Searching...
Book SCI_FI FANTASY FOR 1 1
Searching...
Searching...
Book SCI_FI FANTASY FOR 1 1
Searching...
Searching...
Book SCI_FI FANTASY FOR 1 1
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Emily Dickinson takes a carriage ride with Death. A couple are invited over to a neighbor's daughter's exorcism. A country witch with a sea-captain's head in a glass globe intercedes on behalf of abused and abandoned children. In July of 1915, in Hardin County, Ohio, a boy sees ghosts. Explore contemporary natural history in a baker's dozen of exhilarating visions.

Praise for Jeffrey Ford:

"Outstanding. . . . Ford uses . . . incongruously lyrical phrases to infuse the everyday with a nebulous magic."-- Publishers Weekly, Best Books of the Year(Starred Review)

"For lovers of the weird and fantastic and lovers of great writing, this is a treasure trove of disturbing visions, new worlds and fully realized craft."-- Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)

"Properly creepy, but from time to time deliciously funny and heart-breakingly poignant, too."-- Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Jeffrey Ford was born on Long Island in New York State in 1955 and grew up in the town of West Islip. He studied fiction writing with John Gardner at S.U.N.Y. Binghamton. He's been a college English teacher of writing and literature for thirty years. He is the author of eight novels including The Girl in the Glass and four short story collections. He has received the World Fantasy, Nebula, Edgar, and Shirley Jackson awards. He lives with his wife Lynn in a century old farm house in a land of slow clouds and endless fields.


Author Notes

Jeffrey Ford: Jeffrey Ford was born on Long Island in New York State in 1955 and grew up in the town of West Islip. He studied fiction writing with John Gardner at S.U.N.Y Binghamton. He's been a college English teacher of writing and literature for 30 years. He is the author of eight novels including The Girl in the Glass and four short story collections. He has received the World Fantasy, Nebula, Edgar, and Shirley Jackson awards. He lives with his wife Lynn in a century old farm house in a land of slow clouds and endless fields.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Celebrated short-form fantasist Ford (The Physiognomy) seamlessly blends subtle psychological horror with a mix of literary history, folklore, and SF in this collection of 13 short stories, all focused on the struggles, sorrows, and terrors of daily life. Some stories are told in the modern era; others are set in unspecified periods. Each tale gently twists perceptions, diving down into the ordinary and coming back out with a thoughtful nugget of the extraordinary. "The Blameless" opens the collection with a humorously scathing indictment of modern parenting, treating a teenager's exorcism with the same tender care as one would any religious coming-of-age ceremony. "Rocket Ship to Hell" begins by lampooning pulp-era SF writers and progresses through an intriguing psychological twist, complete with an oblique X-Files reference. "Mount Chary Galore" is a bone-chilling story of three young children in a more innocent, more difficult time, and their encounter with the local wise woman. Each story has its own perfectly suited voice, and readers will be alarmed by how easily they relate to the well-meaning but inevitably destructive characters. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In this collection of 13 stories, Ford showcases his award-winning talent for crafting creepy tales that bend the world as we know it in unexpected ways. Although the stories are not linked, they do share a common theme: wickedness lurking just beneath the surface of everyday life. And while each uses different degrees of the supernatural to get there, all employ a dark and uneasy atmosphere, quirky characters, and thought-provoking endings, with delightfully unsettling results. In Blameless, we join the newly fashionable trend of staging a public exorcism party for your teen. This macabre, satirical story succinctly skewers both adult overreactions to teenage behavior and lavish coming-of-age parties. Stories like Terror, which imagines the ghost story behind an Emily Dickinson poem, and Rocketship to Hell, which plays homage to sf masterpieces of the pulp era, honor their historical source material while still having something to say about our present. But it is in Blood Drive, where every high-school senior is required to carry a gun to school and Far Right politicians are in control, where the chills hit very close to home. This collection is a good choice for fans of short stories by Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, or Kevin Brockmeier.--Spratford, Becky Copyright 2016 Booklist


Kirkus Review

A new collection by Ford (Crackpot Palace, 2012, etc.) offers 13 tales that revel in the dark and strange, exhibiting ardent and pliable storytelling that ranges from suburban exorcisms to ghosts in bucolic 1915 Ohio. Each story in this collection displays Ford's vigorous invention and witty idiosyncrasy in explorations of the wicked and violent corners of the imagination, but the variety of subject, setting, and tone ensures that the book never slips into an authorial haze. In "The Angel Seems," a town suffers the predations of a monstrous angel who offers protection in exchange for occasional poetic disfigurement (antlers sprouting from temples, a window to a starry sky set into a hapless forehead) and indifferent murder. The horrific farce of a high school where both students and teachers carry guns as a matter of course gets played out to extravagant heights in "Blood Drive." Stories journey to hot springs in Japan and historically specific milieus like Emily Dickinson's Massachusetts, but Ford's voice seems most confident when given the freedom of fairy tale-like archetype or the anchor of a picturesque and not-too-distant America. The two come together in "The Thyme Fiend," in which ghosts and visions of hell disrupt a young boy's life in small-town Ohio. The entire collection has a zeal for imagination and an unabashed pleasure in both entertainment and graceful writing that is reminiscent of Ray Bradbury's short fiction. Ford has a knack for choosing the precise words that evoke an image and leave enough room for it to bloom. "Later, the rain started in again. The sound and smell of spring came through the screen of their bedroom window while he dreamt in the language the angels dream in, and she, of the land without worry." Violent, unsettling stories that nevertheless offer a great deal of humor, wit, and feeling. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Table of Contents

The Blamelessp. 1
Word Dollp. 17
The Angel Seemsp. 33
Mount Chary Galorep. 47
A Natural History of Autumnp. 69
Blood Drivep. 87
A Terrorp. 101
Rocket Ship to Hellp. 129
The Fairy Enterprisep. 155
The Last Trianglep. 175
Spirits of Salt: A Tale of the Coral Heartp. 199
The Thyme Fiendp. 219
The Prelate's Commissionp. 259