The Fiction Fox
Review: Things We Say in the Dark - Kirsty Logan
Genre: Horror, Short-stories
Published: Harvill Secker, October 2019
Rating: No rating
Ever since its announcement in early 2019, Things We Say in the Dark has been high up on my most-anticipated list. It’s no secret that I’m as close as it gets to a fangirl when it comes to Kirsty Logans work. I’ve adored everything she’s written thus far, and was expecting a collection of horror-short-stories in her style to be a 5-star experience for me as well. I didn’t even consider the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to finish it. Yet here we are…
I have to say in advance: it’s mostly me, not the collection, but maybe be advised on the content before you go into it.
Things We Say in the Dark is divided up in 3 parts, each surrounding different themes. Each of them are quite hard to describe to someone who hasn’t read it for themselves, so the best I can do is give you some “themes” present in each of them.
Part 1: The House, deals with themes of safety; more specifically the type of safe-place your childhood-home is supposed to offer. And with that, the eventual horror when you realise that the safety of that “safespace” was all an illusion to begin with, and the monsters can absolutely get you here, or might even be coming from inside. I personally really enjoyed this part, and had high hopes for the collection as a whole at this point.
Part 2 The Child is about pregnancy, female bodies, giving birth, and bonding with a child. It was this part that I couldn’t finish, even upon a second try, so I can’t give you a very informed opinion. I will get back to why in a second.
Part 3 The Past is more about literal, specific fears, although I didn’t quite understand some of the more experimental stories.
I’m not easily fazed by horror, but the one exception; the one subgenre of horror that I cannot read is this type of gynaecological/pregnancy/female-body horror. It’s too personal, it genuinely disturbs and upsets me and everything in my body rejects it. This collection, especially in the second part, makes heavy use of this, and had I known this I’d probably have steered clear, despite being a massive fan of the author.
Again: I don’t blame Kirsty Logan, I think it’s brave of her to write about these subjects, and I think she objectively did a good job. This is far from a “bad collection”, but for me, based on my likes, dislikes and experiences, it was just a bad experience. Please be aware of these themes if, like me, you are bothered by reading about them.
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