missuskisses's review

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3.0

This anthology would have benefited from more novella or novellette-sized stories. As it is, it's mostly short stories and flash fiction, and there are just so, so many of varying quality.

With a few exceptions, the original pieces truly inspired by Lynch read better than those that appropriate from Lynch--after all, Lynch does Lynch best.

Still, enough good material to be worth the read.

brucemri's review

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4.0

This is a collection that matches its inspiration: rich in brilliant, engaging, disturbing parts, and also rich in parts that never rise above random weirdness just because. It's very much worth your time to read, if you like Lynch's mix of compassionate humanism, profoundly unsettled fascination with the limits of the known and knowable, and outright bizarrely elegant motifs. There seems to be a classic failure mode for stories of this kind: random weird stuff happens that never adds up to mean much for anyone it's happening to, and then the story stops. There are a few stories like that in this volume, and also some where, quite literally, I have no idea what happened or to whom, because there was never enough information for me to get any sense of what was up - the equivalent of a version of Mulholland Drive that had the opening credits montage, the theatre moment, and the last five minutes, and three minutes of The Straight Story, and nothing else.

But the good parts are really, really, really good. At least one probably has no preternatural elements at all; it's just a close look at a person kidding themselves ever deeper into delusional quests, a sort of latter-day neighbor to Willa Cather's "Paul's Case". Others are very definitely about reality losing its way and what this does to the people caught in it, with rich, sympathetic portrayals. These are very much stories inspired by Lynch, not trying to be just like Lynch. As a really minor quibble, I personally don't think of Thomas Ligotti's "Teattro Grottesco" (which appears here) as "Gas Station Carnivals" (which doesn't). Though, now that I think about it...never mind, a story about how to eliminate art one soul at a time is suitable. :)
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