Review: The Inner City

The Inner City
The Inner City by Karen Heuler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had the pleasure of meeting Karen at my reading in New York in July. As on many such occasions, we swapped postcards with our respective book covers on them. This cover is interesting, but the blurb on the back of the card got my attention, the same blurb on the back of the book:

an employee finds that her hair has been stolen. . .strange fish fall from trees. . .birds talk too much

Authors take note: this may be the first time I have purchase a book because I got the post card. Those things do work!

The Inner City is a collection of short stories from this award-winning author. The stories are odd, quirky, sometimes horror, sometimes merely supernatural or strange, and several of them are downright unforgettable. I’m thinking of asking Karen if I can use a couple as campfire stories, when I’m sitting in the dark with a group of teenagers and I want them to get all round-eyed with dismay. That would be “Creating Cow.” Other mind-stickers include “The Escape Artist,” and the title story, about an office worker at a very strange office–yet one that will seem, to most of us, very familiar.

These are not the kind of stories that I would write. They have an almost fairy-tale quality to them, and many are drawn from that kind of source. They don’t build scenes and settings, rather they build psyches, characters and emotional contexts that are at once believable and unsettling. Creepy good stuff!

View all my reviews

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About E. C. Ambrose

I spend as much time in my office as I possibly can--thinking up terrible things to do to people who don't exist.
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