|Review: Holly Phillip's In the Palace of Repose
||[Dec. 25th, 2004|02:25 pm]
I am so tempted to quote the entire review from The Agony Column: |
"In another age, Phillips' work might have been called horror, and then, as now, that would have been a misnomer. Phillips writes what Bruce Sterling calls slipstream fiction, stories that involve a fantastic concept or insight but play out in a real world, with rules and logic. And while readers might find them chilling, it will be primarily for their insight into the workings of a woman's psyche, for their insights into that place just beyond the edge of the world we all know and like to live in. We like to live there because it's safe, it's predictable. And predictable is not a safe word to be associated with Holly Phillips' fiction."
"But then we don’t like our fiction predictable or safe. We do like it Lovecraftian, and whether it's classic Lovecraft with a crate full of Cthulhu or New-Age Lovecraft with a hint of the infinite madness that lies just over the horizon, the essential ingredient here is an author who is willing to force us to face the unknown. More importantly, it's not just facing the unknown; SF writers do that for lunch. What Phillips appears to mange is to allow us to experience the unknown and yet let it remain unknown. If it sounds like a paradox, then I'm on the right track. Phillips' prose will quickly convince any reader that while she's got a nice smooth, poetic voice, she also knows her way around a plot, some characters and a story. Put these entire opposites together, do it in less than 10,000 words and you've got a gold-plated paradox. And, just possibly, a Holly Phillips story."
It's things like this that make it a joy to wake up in the morning :-)