After writing about Sideshow yesterday, I couldn’t stop thinking about other short story collections I’ve read and whether they could be defined as horror. Black Juice by Margo Lanagan may not be your typical collection of scary stories, but each of the strange tales she includes is haunting and has shades of horror within it. Lanagan’s stories immerse the reader in alternate and surreal worlds without any of the context spelled out for us. We adjust to our surroundings over the course of each story, whether it is traveling with a herd of elephants or being attacked by giant creatures called yowlinins.
The two stories that I imagine will stay with me the longest are Singing My Sister Down and Red Nose Day. The former is the story of a young boy singing his sister to her death at a public execution and the latter is a bizarre and eerie story about clowns (an already existing fear of mine).
This collection is not for everyone. The writing is layered and complex and a lot is demanded of the reader. BUT, if you’re searching for something unlike anything you’ve ever read, Black Juice may be just what you’re looking for.
~Tricia is CPL’s teen librarian and is very happy it’s Friday. =)