FIGURES UNSEEN: SELECTED STORIES by Steve Rasnic Tem is an exceptional example of short fiction at its best. I've been reading Mr. Tem's work for years, but never have I seen so many of his short stories collected into one volume- and what an outstanding collection it is!
There are far too many tales to go into each one individually, but my favorites were:
JESSE: A very disturbing story that tricked this reader-I picked the wrong bad guy.
CITY FISHING: Other than the word "unsettling," I have no idea how to describe this. It was the first tale in this collection and it hasn't completely left my mind since I finished it.
HUNGRY was just...sad.
"It's like the love goes inside me and gets lost. And then it just isn't there anymore-like I eat the love, momma. And then I'm still hungry."
RED RABBIT: Yet another disturbing tale which starts out being about one thing but by the end it was about something else entirely.
LEAKS: This one gave me a bad case of the creeps. Something was wrong with this horrible, damp, wet house. I shudder in disgust just thinking about it.
MIRI: is a special kind of stalker. INVISIBLE: Who in their life has not felt invisible at times? Those points where it feels like no one in the world even knows or cares you're there? This one touched a chord deep inside.
THE MEN AND WOMEN OF RIVENDALE: There are a lot of stories in this volume about grief. I felt this was one of them. Grief is powerful, but extended family can be a big help when they're there for support, right? Right?
GRANDFATHER WOLF actually made me grin, though I'm not sure it was supposed to. It makes me wonder what lengths a family would go to to keep a family member close, even if that family member is dangerous.
VINTAGE DOMESTIC: This one turned my stomach. Then I laughed with delight.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE GAME is a tale that started out one way and then slowly morphed into something else entirely. Better get dressed now, it's almost time to go.
I guess I'll stop there. Not every story in this collection worked for me, but most of them did, and they worked WELL. I know these tales won't be for everyone, but for me this was a perfect collection of stories. They all complemented each other and flowed like a freshwater spring from one to the next. In short, (too late!), they left this reader blown away.
I listened to this book on audio, narrated by Matt Godfrey, whose laid back style is perfect for this collection. The combination of Steve Rasnic Tem, Matt Godfrey, and Valancourt Books is like some unholy trilogy of excellence and FIGURES UNSEEN: SELECTED STORIES is the result of their union. Don't let it pass you by.
My highest recommendation!
*I received this audiobook free, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*