Burnt Tongues: An Anthology of Transgressive Short Stories by Chuck Palahniuk, Dennis Widmyer and Richard Thomas
|Burnt Tongues: An Anthology of Transgressive Short Stories by Chuck Palahniuk, Dennis Widmyer and Richard Thomas|
|Category: Short Stories|
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler|
|Summary: You know what you are about to say is wrong, but you say it anyway. Did you do it to shock or alienate others, or are you just too shy that you force others away? Welcome to the world of Transgressive Fiction, a collection of short stories that will have you questioning what you are reading.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 320||Date: September 2014|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Saying certain things out loud just don’t sound right. Some things are so disturbing or politically incorrect that you are best off leaving them inside your head, or better yet not thinking of them at all. When these words are spoken they could lead to the sensation of Burnt Tongue; an aftereffect of knowing what you said was wrong. Are you prepared to enter the world of Transgressive Fiction that aims to disturb, alienate, disgust and question?
‘Burnt Tongues’ is a collection of short stories edited by Richard Thomas and Dennis Widmyer, who helped develop a group of upcoming authors all inspired by the new wave of Transgressive Fiction and in particular the work of arch hellion Chuck Palahniuk. With a stroke of luck Palahniuk took an interest in this group and has helped to develop the writers. Collected here are 20 of the best stories that Palahniuk believes will make a good anthology – and they do, if you like fiction that makes your teeth stand on edge.
Palahniuk himself is never shy to hide from controversy having covered anarchists, sex addicts and non-conformists of every shade and colour. It is clear to see that the writers within ‘Burnt Tongues’ are truly inspired by him as some of the writing is almost like Palahniuk wrote them himself. This is a blessing and a curse; the writing is quality, but the voices are not always unique enough. Did these stories start off as being Palahniuk-esque, or did the editor choose those that spoke to him most?
A collection of short stories that reflect the personality of the writer of Fight Club is no bad thing, his own Haunted is one of the greatest collections I have every read. However, like most anthologies there is a range in quality. The majority of the stories are excellent; disturbing tales about a Vietnam Veteran, or a man trapped in a world of fantasy. However, some are a little bland; an office worker creating anarchy via loo paper. Palahniuk himself states in the preface that you are unlikely to like all the stories and although they will stay the same, you as a reader will evolve and will one day enjoy the story. I am not sure if this is not just an excuse to cover some pretty ropey stories, but perhaps the issue is me!
A final word of warning, this is not a book for the faint-hearted. I am a veteran of many horror films and books that many people would find too much and even I was a little put off by two of the stories in this collection. Being disturbed by two out of the twenty probably reflects poorly on me as the majority of readers would have a far greater sense of revulsion throughout. However, in a collection of short stories that is designed to make the reader question their sensibilities; being sickened is part of the process. If you are looking for a jet black book that will put you off your lunch then Burnt Tongues is a great collection. Just don't say you were not told.
If this book appeals then try Rant: The Oral History of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk and The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. You might also enjoy Make Something Up by Chuck Palahniuk.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Burnt Tongues: An Anthology of Transgressive Short Stories by Chuck Palahniuk, Dennis Widmyer and Richard Thomas at Amazon.com.
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