The Whisper Jar – Carole Lanham
I don’t do a lot of book reviews. Mostly because I don’t have the time, or don’t like to be obligated to like a book to avoid offence to an author who I like. However, Carole Lanham kindly approached me and asked if I would have a look at, and possibly, review her book. After having a quick read I was happy that I did. Carole was sensible enough to search for other dark fiction themed blogs, so this set of short stories was right up my alley.
This is a collection of Carole’s award winning short stories. Every story has won its share of acclaim, with each one appearing in a ‘best of’ collection, winning an award, or receiving a nomination. After reading these stories, I can see why. Carole has a wonderful array of topics and subjects within this collection. All of them explore some interesting concepts and ideas beyond normal fictional tropes. I found myself so thoroughly engrossed with this collection that it’s likely to be one of the few collections that I will re-read a number of times.
The collection features nine stories and kicks off with the titular ‘The Whisper Jar’ which is a great poem-like story featuring secret-keeping jars. This has a wonderful feel and tone about it with a creepy ending. The rest of the stories are all superbly written and intriguing. I read the book in a single sitting.
A number of the stories have a kind of dark fairy tale feel to them and I enjoyed this very much. Reminded me of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. While other stories are thick with great characterisation (The Good Part & The Reading Lessons especially stood out for me here), angst, lust and coming-of-age. There’s even a post-apocalyptic story for those fans of that genre (it seems to be a genre these days).
If you like dark, creepy stories with a theme of secrets and dark characters, you’re going to love this (I did!). It’s the perfect read for Halloween, and I can certainly recommend it highly. I had a great time with all of these stories, and it’s no surprise to me that all these stories have won acclaim in their own right.
About The Author
Carole Lanham has published twenty-four short stories and one novella since she began writing full time in 2004. Seven of her stories have received honorable mentions in Year’s Best volumes, one story was short-listed for the Million Writer’s Prize, and one was chosen as a Notable Story of the Year in 2008 for the Million Writer’s Prize. She has won two writing contests and two of her stories made the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker award for Outstanding Achievement in a Short Story. She is also a monthly contributor at Storyteller’s Unplugged.
The Whisper Jar is out on the 31st of October, 2011 by Morrigan Books in a variety of e-formats.