September 29, 2014

We Need to Talk About Simon: a review of Angela Slatter's "Home and Hearth"

Home and Hearth
by Angela Slatter
Spectral Press (2014)
31 pages

The 11th in Spectral Press' chapbook series brings another high-caliber piece of emotional terror.

A mother's love and loyalty are tested when Caroline welcomes her disgraced son, Simon, home. And for as much as Angela Slatter should be commended for presenting a conflicted parent in a discordant house, it is the way in which the story--namely the back story--is revealed in such a short span of pages.

Without getting into the details of why Simon was away and why Caroline is so trepidacious about his return, the story brought up memories of We Need to Talk About Kevin. But where that book leaves no room for doubt regarding the fact the narrator's son committed a horrible atrocity, Home and Hearth highlights the ceaseless guilt and torment of a woman struggling with protecting a son that just might not be the angel she believes--she needs--him to be.

Angela has another fine outing through Spectral Press, with a tale in The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, which you will find a review for soon. I'm pretty sure I will need to read more of her work, because she's got the chops, that's for sure.

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