Cover image for Suicide woods : stories
Title:
Suicide woods : stories
Uniform Title:
Short stories. Selections
ISBN:
9781644450062
Physical Description:
195 pages ; 21 cm.
Contents:
The cold boy -- Suspect zero -- The dummy -- Heart of a bear -- Dial tone -- The mud man -- Writs of possession -- The balloon -- Suicide woods -- The uncharted.
Summary:
In his first story collection since the acclaimed Refresh, Refresh, Benjamin Percy delivers a potent brew of horror, crime, and weird happenings in the woods. A boy in his uncle's care falls through the ice on a pond and emerges in a frozen, uncanny state. Patients in therapy for suicidal ideation undergo a drastic session in the woods with fatal consequences. And in a pulse-quickening novella, thrill seekers on an expedition in Alaska are stranded on a sinister island that seems to want them dead. A master class in suspense and horror, Suicide Woods is a dark, inventive collection packed to the gills with eerie, can't-miss tales. --
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Stillwater Public Library2On Order

Summary

Summary

A spine-tingling new collection of stories from the acclaimed author of Thrill Me and The Dark Net

Benjamin Percy is a versatile and propulsive storyteller whose genre-busting novels and story collections have ranged from literary to thriller to postapocalyptic. In his essay collection, Thrill Me , he laid bare for readers how and why he channels disparate influences in his work. Now, in his first story collection since the acclaimed Refresh, Refresh , Percy brings his page-turning skills to bear in Suicide Woods , a potent brew of horror, crime, and weird happenings in the woods.

A boy in his uncle's care falls through the ice on a pond and emerges in a frozen, uncanny state. A group of people in therapy for suicidal ideation undergoes a drastic session in the woods with fatal consequences. A body found on a train and a blood-soaked carpet in an empty house are clues to a puzzling crime in a small town. And in a pulse-quickening novella, thrill seekers on a mapping expedition into the "Bermuda Triangle" of remote Alaska are stranded on a sinister island that seems to want them dead.

In story after story, which have appeared in magazines ranging from the Virginia Quarterly Review and Orion Magazine to McSweeney's and Ploughshares , Percy delivers haunting and chilling narratives that will have readers hanging on every word. A master class in suspense and horror, Suicide Woods is a dark, inventive collection packed to the gills with eerie, can't-miss tales.


Author Notes

Ben Percy received a BA with Honors from Brown University and an MFA with a teaching fellowship from Southern Illinois University.

Percy has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Marquette University. He currently teaches creative writing at Iowa State University.

He is the author of two novels, Red Moon (forthcoming from Grand Central in 2012), The Wilding (Graywolf, 2010), and two books of short stories, Refresh, Refresh (Graywolf, 2007) and The Language of Elk (Carnegie Mellon, 2006).

Ben lives in Ames, Iowa, with his wife and two children.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Percy's haunting, well-crafted prose frequently elevates the mundanity and isolation of being human into something otherworldly in his genre-bending collection (after The Dark Net). The brisk, cleverly written puzzler "Suspect Zero" begins with a body found in a train car and invites readers to follow the clues to the killer's identity. In the chilling "The Cold Boy," a man finds his young nephew trapped beneath the ice of a frigid lake and fears the worst, but the boy survives, and his relief soon gives way to terror. In the visceral, but strangely affecting "Heart of a Bear," an injured bear covets a family's humanity, leading to tragic results. In the title story, a man employs a disturbing experiment meant to induce a fear of death in a group of suicidal people, and an ember of hope burns at the heart of "The Balloon," which follows two lonely survivors during the dark days of a pandemic. In the exceedingly creepy novella "The Uncharted," a risk-averse employee of a virtual map making company joins a dangerous rescue mission to retrieve a team that went missing in a part of Alaska dubbed the Bermuda Triangle of the North. This gripping, often unnerving collection showcases Percy's talent as a skilled, versatile storyteller. (Oct.)


Kirkus Review

Percy's (The Dark Net, 2017, etc.) story collection explores a natural world, tired of being misunderstood and threatened by humans, that is finally threatening back.The humans in these tales are beaten down by the financial collapse, the threat of disease, the mind-numbing routines of their lives; and the wilderness, kept at bay for so long by our construction and our expansion and our money, has begun to creep in at the edges, swallowing those who are lost and stretching, hungry, toward the center of our world. In "Heart of a Bear," a bear begins to assimilate to human life only to face tragedy and loss that drive him back to the wild. In "Writs of Possession," an unfinished luxury subdivision becomes the playground for wild animals as the human inhabitants are evicted one by one. There are small offerings of hope: the suggestion that a pair of trespassing children would have been welcomed, fed, and adopted by a homeowner in "Writs of Possession," for instance, or the ending of "The Balloon," where, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, two misfits may find solace in each other. For the most part, though, these stories echo with paranoia and loss; there is, Percy suggests, a hollow, empty core beneath the trappings of our modern lives. As he describes a main character in "The Uncharted": "His friends call him a warrior poet. They have misinterpreted his emptiness for depth." Despite the loneliness and violence of these tales, however, there is icy beauty in Percy's language, even as he describes depression: "We take Xanax. We take Lorazapam. We take Prozac and Paxil and Zoloft. Dozens of little moons dissolve inside us and make our brains deaden and our hearts fizz. Sometimes we are so sad we do not move." This beauty redeems the vision of darkness that he offersheld out before us, these words suggest that there is still something worth saving in our broken human existence.Like modern Grimm fairy tales, the stories in this volume are cautionary and haunting. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Percy, a multitalented author who writes comics, screenplays, and novels (The Dark Net, 2017), collects 10 stories of horror and the macabre in this slim but entertaining volume. The title story is a frightening portrayal of suicide survivors as they willingly accept the guidance of a counselor to ill effect. The opening tale, ""The Cold Boy,"" is a heart-wrenching story of guilt and acceptance amidst the cold of the Minnesota woods in winter. Percy's stories are atmospheric, concise, and at times terrifying, and he leads readers into unexpected revelations and visceral violence. Suspect Zero offers a surprise, as the evil you know may not be the worst to fear; and The Dummy presents a prescient story of identity and gender amidst the sport of wrestling. The anchoring piece, The Uncharted, masterfully portrays a group of adrenaline junkies as they endeavor to rescue a map-making mission in northern Alaska. Readers who are drawn to dark and unexpected twists will enjoy Percy's musings on life, identity, and the powerful effects of nature on the human condition.--Craig Clark Copyright 2010 Booklist