“Enter a surreal landscape of the twisted and unusual. Wander through the echoing corridors of old manor houses, explore dead cities and hidden rooms, and dance with menacing marionettes.”
So goes the official blurb for Ms. Craig-Whytock’s latest collection of short stories. When I first received my review copy, I eagerly dove into the first few stories as I like stories of “mystery and imagination” along the lines of Mr. Poe. Initially, I was a little disappointed as I found the stories very short, almost flash fiction. So I set it aside.
Recently, my wife and I went on a two-week vacation and I took along the book, among a few others. I like to sit in the car and read while my wife shops and this would be the perfect book to have stowed away in the glovebox.
I must admit I now have a very different view of this collection, once I read all the stories within its covers. There are a few (like in any collection) that came across as “unfinished” or “unpolished”, but there are a few cracking good ones in here, good stories that could be the genesis of a good novel.
“Nomads of the Modern Wasteland” a post-apocalyptic story appears throughout the collection in three distinct parts, with the same characters. Money is valueless, and finding food is everything. Mr. Franklin owns a highway service center, the type you see just off the road with gas, a food court and restrooms. He has stored plenty of food in his refrigerators and storeroom, which he keeps going with a generator until his gasoline supply runs out. Roving marauders are a constant threat, and he has a shotgun to take care of them.
“No Strings Attached” is the creepy marionette (don’t call it a puppet!) mentioned in the opening blurb. Handcrafted by her husband, Edie finds it watching her all too eerily.
“Resurrection” is based on a budgie that was thought dead and buried. Young Dorcas digs him up to see him one last time. Apparently, he was just stunned, but to Dorcas, he has returned to life. Does the same thing happen with humans, she wonders…..
“Just the Right Size” is possibly the story of a budding serial killer. They are never nice to animals as a child, are they?
“The Visit” was one of my favourite stories. It has the Grim Reaper riding in a near-empty subway car, patiently awaiting his next victim. But it’s “not you,” he says to Serena. Who is it to be, then?
There are twenty-seven stories in all in At the End of It All, some are just a page long, others are several pages, but they are all on the concise side. Perfect for reading on vacation, or on the subway. Just watch for a well-dressed man whistling away to himself. It might be your turn.
About the Author
Suzanne Craig-Whytock is the author of three novels, Smile, The Dome, and The Seventh Devil (published by Bookland Press) and two short story collections, Feasting Upon The Bones and At The End Of It All (published by Potters Grove Press). Her second novel The Dome was recently translated into Arabic and her first novel Smile is due to be released in Georgian this summer. The sequel to The Seventh Devil will also be out at the end of June. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals. Suzanne is also the editor-in-chief of DarkWinter Literary Magazine, an online journal of short fiction and poetry.
- Publisher : Potter’s Grove Press LLC (January 31, 2023)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 112 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1951840631
- ISBN-13 : 978-1951840631
James M. Fisher is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. James works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane and their tabby cat Eddie.