I love Speculative Fiction….
I love Horror….
I LOVED this book!
I want to talk about how I felt when I started this last night.
I watched in empathy as nine year old Maggie hid in terror of a storm. Her small frame under the sink trying to protect herself. Her alcoholic mother, jeering and deriding her for her weakness. Her grandmother having a zen moment on the porch as Maggie cries.
Maggie is telling me about her life, not complaining of her circumstances but showing me the wonder in a child’s imagination.
Maggie tells me how her grandmother loves her. She makes sure Maggie eats and is clothed and is protected. Maggie talks to me about the trailer park she lives in and the desolate desert which surrounds it giving Maggie ideas of adventure and mystery and discovery.
Through Maggie, we witness her grandmother teach Maggie about the voices in the storm. The way God uses these storms to clean up the messes that people make. Messes like the ones Maggie’s mother makes with the bad men she brings home. Maggie knows, from her grandmother, that everything she suffers is another brick added to her castle in Heaven. If she makes sure she cleans her own messes then her castle will be large and wondrous, a castle where only good girls go….
I was enchanted by Maggie and the way she accepted her life with such grace. The writing in this story is so clean and fresh. I was completely focused on Maggie and her life.
Then…. Benjamin X. Wretlind lifted his big-booted foot back and kicked my ass into my skull. Right in to my skull.
Here is the book summary:When Maggie was six, she hid from desert storms under the sink where the Comet and Windex were kept. Now twenty, she welcomes the storms. Maggie has been abused, torn apart by the sins of others and constantly feels as if she is living on the verge of some grand epiphany. Then again, she may just be insane. Maggie doesn’t know if the four bodies she dismembered and placed inside a rusted Volkswagen Bus are the only bricks left to her castle in the sky, but she hopes you’ll understand if they’re not. Castles is Maggie’s story, a literary horror novel about love and redemption, belief and revenge and what brings a person to madness. Set in a nameless desert in a nameless town, it is the view into the life of a young woman who wonders if madness is really mad.
Do not assume anything when you read this book and if you have any love in you for speculative-horror fiction; you must read this.
Mr. Wretlind is asking us a question; What is madness? After reading this I have come up with more than a few answers and a whole lot of questions. None of which I will share with you my friends. I promise after reading Castles you will have your own.
Benjamin X. Wretlind is a serious talent and a force to be reckoned with. I look forward to getting the boot while reading further work from him. Grab a copy of this story and watch your ass!