Monday, May 8, 2017
Beautiful Sorrows - by Mercedes M. Yardley
I've been hearing great things about this book for some time and with the new release from the fine folks over at Apex Books, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
First of all, kudos to Yannick Bouchard for an absolutely wonderful cover for Beautiful Sorrows. Then there's the glowing introduction by P. Gardner Goldsmith comparing Mercedes' writing to the sirens in Greek mythology. Can the book possibly live up to all the hype? Well, I'm happy to say it does.
The contents in this book have all been published elsewhere, but are collected here for the first time and run the gamut from flash fiction to longer pieces all giving you glimpses into the heart and soul of Mercedes M. Yardley. At the end of the book, Mercedes graciously provides insights into each of her stories and many of these are as entertaining as the stories themselves.
Some of the highlights for me include Black Mary, a haunting story of child molestation. Horrible by nature, but beautifully told.
The opening line of The Boy Who Hangs the Stars was particularly beautiful...
Once there was a girl who was sitting by the river. She liked to watch the water, and listen to what it had to say. Usually it was nonsense, but every now and then it came up with something important.
This was one of my favorite stories and had a fable-like feel to it.
Then there's Untied an unlikely tale of a suicidal man and the woman inside the window he's threatening to jump from.
Another story with a suicidal theme was Music To Jump By. I'm generally not a fan of stories without an ending, but damn if this wasn't a perfect tale.
Mercedes M. Yardley's tales are small slices of life with pieces of the souls around us. Although I enjoyed the many melancholy stories in Beautiful Sorrows, I loved the comedic horror in Axes. Can you imagine death as your roommate? Imaginative, funny, and totally entertaining. Followed immediately by The Quiet Places where Your Body Grows. One minute she's making you laugh and the next she's tearing your heart out. And that's a good thing.
And then there's Stars, a wonderfully fanciful story. It's the little things that make a Mercedes story work for me. Like the dog who's name changed weekly. I can relate. My wife and I have two dogs, one I would never consider changing her name and the other I try to change every few weeks, but my wife won't let me.
I can't leave without mentioning Big Man Ben another of my favorites, the longest story in the collection and one that just left me devastated.
Expect the unexpected in these stories, many of the tales are downright inexplicable. Recommended.
Beautiful Sorrows is available from the Apex book company in both paperback and e-book formats.
From the author's bio - Mercedes has three kids, a husband and no time to write, although she tries her very best. She is the author of the short story collection Beautiful Sorrows, the “serial killers in love” novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, the BONE ANGEL trilogy, Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy, and the Bram Stoker Award winner Little Dead Red. She specializes in the dark and beautiful.