This collection of short stories (and one novella) will knock your socks off. These stories are chilling, beautiful, and strange. The sense of foreboding and and doom that builds throughout the pieces reaches its devastating crescendo in the final story, "Apocalypse." And while solitude and death seem to be the central theme of this striking collection, I walk away from these pages with a wondrous feeling of clarity, calm, and awe. I really cannot speak too highly of Holt's talent and originality. You must read this!
I have read the first 5 stories of this collection and am blown away. The term "original voice" is way over used, but is completely applicable in this case. These are haunting, touching, strange stories. People will be talking about this book for years to come.
The rest of the stories in this volume lived up to the first 5. These are dark, haunting stories almost all focusing on mortality that echo the voices of Poe and Borges. Yet Holt's voice is entirely contemporary and very American. I haven't been this aware of having discovered a "new" voice since I first read Cormac McCarthy.
Praised for his "beautifully crafted and strangely surreal" (Peter Matthiessen) stories, Terrence Holt had been operating under the literary radar for more than fifteen years, placing award-winning stories in such noted journals as Zoetrope, Kenyon Review, and TriQuarterly. With the release of this debut collection, Holt's work takes its "rightful place besides those works of genius fiction, philosophy, theology unafraid of axing into our iced hearts" (William Giraldi, New York Times Book Review). Whether chronicling a plague that ravages a New England town or the anguish of a son who keeps his father's beating heart in a jar, Holt's stories oscillate between the rational and the surreal, the future and the past, masterfully weaving together reality and myth. Like Poe or Hawthorne, "Holt is a gifted wordsmith, his sentences carefully shaped and often beautiful, and he spins these ancient, irresolvable dilemmas in an elegiac poetry" (Los Angeles Times).