UNCERTAINTIES, vol IV
Edited by Timothy J. Jarvis
The Swan River Press, 2020
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Here’s the fourth volume of the critically acclaimed Uncertainties anthology series from the distinguished Irish imprint, The Swan River Press. The present volume is edited by Timothy J. Jarvis, who has assembled fourteen brand new “strange” stories addressing the uncanny aspects of human existence. The quality of the included tales remains consistently high, in keeping with the previous three books.
Fine examples are, for instance, “Some Girls Wander by Mistake” by Nadia Bulkin, an enticing supernatural mystery revolving around a woman’s disappearance; and “A Novel (or Poem) about Fan,” or “The Zoo,” by Camilla Grudova, a bizarre,engrossing tale portraying the lives of some models and painters and of their offspring.
DP Watt pens “Primal,” an apparently ordinary story of the erratic relationship between two university students, which flares up into an unexpectedly horrific ending, while Lucie McKnight Hardy contributes “The Birds of Nagasaki,” a perceptive, cruel tale full of lyricism, featuring a woman disturbed by unwelcome childhood memories.
My favorite stories are Rebecca Lloyd’s “I Seen Her,” a disconcerting but fascinating piece about an elusive creature and her relationship with two boys; Charles Wilkinson’s “These Words, Rising From Stone,” a delightfully creepy story revisiting in a new context the subject of a person haunted by a curse, and the very enjoyable “Reflection, Refraction, Dispersion” by Aliya Whitely, one of the strangest stories I’ve read in years, about a paranormal phenomenon affecting the lives of a young woman and her father.
A book highly recommended to any fiction lover.