I don’t read short stories much these days. I’ve always loved the long form, for reading or for writing, and while every now and then I make a concerted effort to read short works, I generally gravitate back to my natural home, the longer the better.
And yet every now and then a short work or collection comes along that blows my mind. I am always admiring of those who are masters of the form and Rebecca Fraser absolutely knows what she’s doing with short form fiction.
Her collection, Coralesque, and Other Tales to Disturb and Distract, is an eclectic mix of short stories, flash fiction and poetry. The pieces range in theme and content, but all are dark fiction or outright horror, and Fraser absolutely disturbs, distracts, and captures the reader with her worlds and characters.
She’s an accomplished writer who I admire very much. I will add the caveat here that Rebecca and I are friends, to the point where we launched our books together. But I will also note that we became friends through writing and I admired her work for a long time before I knew her in person. I read many of these stories in their original publications and I adored them long before we ever met.
Fraser creates worlds that are rich and meaningful, and characters who are exceptionally real, even when the most unreal things are happening to them. The surfer culture described in the title story is full of depth and reality, even as the most unreal things are happening.
My favourites of the collection – because a girl’s always got to have her favourites – would be the title story, Coralesque, which plays out like an episode of The Twilight Zone or X-Files, against the backdrop of that expertly drawn surfer culture. I also loved Don’t Hate Me Cause I’m Beautiful and The Pedlar.
But I enjoyed every single tale, prose or poetry, in this collection. There’s something in here that will capture everyone’s interest.
I highly recommend this collection, it’s a fabulous read that can be dipped into and read in any order. And watch out for more of Fraser’s work in years to come…