Pros: Clever creepiness
Cons: Some stories are better than others; stereotyped female characters
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
D. Krauss’ The Moonlight in Genevieve’s Eyes and Other Tales of Horror is an enjoyable collection of creepy tales. (I picked it up because I enjoyed Krauss’s Partholon.) Like any anthology, quality varies and you’re sure to enjoy some stories more than others. The book as a whole is short and easy to read as a kind of literary snack. Several of these stories are written in the first person; I mention this because there are a number of people who just don’t like first-person narrations. I felt it worked, though, particularly given that we’re in the horror genre here.
I love some of the details that go into the stories. A story of Zombies (author’s capitalization, not mine) has survivors getting together on Friday nights to socialize, while settling territorial squabbles with drinking contests. I could so easily see that happening, and it’s a great break from the usual scenarios! The Zombies also turn out to have a few surprises up their sleeves that I didn’t anticipate. Genevieve’s story gave me a chill, and the stream-of-consciousness narration worked very well in it. A story of an elvish woman who seduced a man didn’t appeal–there was no appreciable chemistry between the lovers. King of the Bears mixed some great pacing and palpable danger with a bit of humor to good effect. A story about evil flowers was one of my favorites just because the setup and concept was fun. I would have liked to see a little more personality out of the characters.
Before I finish this up, there’s one story quote I need to include:
Feminism is great in decadent, fat times, but not in a state of nature.
This was backed up with the assertion that most of the people who’ve survived the zombie apocalypse were men, and women mostly went to “Breeder locations.” The major female characters in this book (not just that one story) are harridans or other negative stereotypes (contemptuous cheerleader with the jock, naturally). Some of the male characters have very good character details going on, with a lot of personality to spare, so the faint portrayal of women stands out more than it otherwise would. If there are other Krauss books that don’t have this weakness, I hope someone will leave me a note about which ones. Because the plots and male characters make me want to read more Krauss, but I’d totally lose patience with the depictions of women.