A collection of surreal, experimental short stories published by PS Publishing in the UK and with a foreword by Jeff Vandermeer.
PS Showcase 6: Glass Coffin Girls
Purchase – [hardcover for $19.20] [jacketed hardcover for $40.00] [ebook version for $6.39]
Publisher: PS Publishing
Release Date: Spring 2009
Cover art: Darin Bradley
Introduction by: Jeff Vandermeer
Secret in the House of Smiles
Glass Coffin Girls
The Drinking Moon
Jars of Rain
It Tasted Like the Sea
The best way I can describe Glass Coffin Girls? Like Cinderella walking over the shards of her own glass slipper, broken…the blood looks positively gorgeous against the crystalware, don’t you think?
From- My Fluttering Heart Book Reviews
Another stand-out is “Secret in the House of Smiles,” which starts the book off in typically atypical fashion with Jack, a nutty college dude who likes to cut out pieces of women’s bodies from magazines and then paste them together in new configurations, his vampire (quantum vampire, that is) hunting girlfriend Alice, and a cabin in the woods where Jack and Alice meet their fate. “The Drinking Moon” is even stranger, a slip-streamy evocation of undiluted oddness whose overall tone is set by the words of the title.
“The title story, “Glass Coffin Girls”, is the second story and a much more interesting piece. The opening paragraph is a real “grabber” and sets up the coming conflict between the main characters beautifully. One thing that Jessup does extremely well, in this story and throughout the collection, is use sentence length and rhythms to propel the stories along. At times, his writing feels like free verse poetry, and he likes to use repetition and short lines for emphasis. Unlike in the previous story, the characters of Lewis and Emily are expertly drawn. The relationship between them is complex and multifaceted. Lewis’ obsession with cannibalism, seemingly rooted in childhood denial and secrets, dominates his very being and his obsession with the seemingly-suicidal Emily leads to him becoming increasingly dominated by her, having obviously been dominated by his mother before her.
It’s a story that has more narrative drive than “Secret In The House of Smiles”, and Jessup employs some characteristic fairytale tropes (an evil hound, wicked mother figure, glass coffin, wannabe princess) to new and freakishly-unusual effect. As the story moves along, the imagery becomes more and more bizarre and there is a real sense of claustrophobia built up as Lewis loses control of everything around him. It’s certainly one of the more accessible stories in the collection, thanks to cleanly-delineated characters and a cohesive structure, and I genuinely enjoyed it.”