Saturday, November 6, 2010

They Had Goat Heads, (ATLATL Press), D. Harlan Wilson

D. Harlan Wilson's They Had Goat Heads - a series of collected short fiction - presents jarring imagery and stream-of-consciousness scenes of nightmarish quality. In some cases, his stories serve as thinly disguised social commentary and psychological insight.

"Monster Truck" in particular, describes the nature of our mechanized day to day existence, and serves as a cautionary tale of the potential dangers of such a life.

Other noteworthy tales include the title story, "They Had Goat Heads," a story of awakening, as well as "The Storyteller," which reads like a blow by blow of a day in the life of a hard-working writer, and the mysterious "PO Box 455," which cleverly hints at the threatening nature of what inhabits the inside of Box 455 without ever articulating the danger involved. Surreal imagery abounds with memorable lines like "a herd of walri chasing a double-decker bus," or the dream-like narrative of "Giraffe." In "The Sister," illustrated by Skye Thorstenson, we have the opportunity to see Wilson's words re-imagined; the story is fascinating in its own right, and Thorstenson adds a richer viewpoint, an artful merging of graphics and narrative.

Absurdist/bizarro fiction will not suit everyone's palate, but there is something to be savored in the innovative use of story. The secret of Wilson's exceptional prose is his use of language, stripped down to its emotional center and allowed to do the dirty work of assaulting the reader without the interference of complex plot devices, or explanations for the extraordinary. D. Harlan Wilson delights in turning language to new and exciting uses.

Visit Buy it today.

Martin Rose lives in New Jersey, where he writes a range of fiction from the fantastic to the macabre, holds a degree in graphic design, and enjoys blurring the line between art and life. More details are available at

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