Mental Shrillness by Todd Russell – And Why Short Stories Rock!
Posted by Karen, Quirky Gurl Media
MENTAL SHRILLNESS by TODD RUSSELL
This collection of short stories, MENTAL SHRILLNESS is a very good example of abbreviated fiction at it’s finest. I’ll get to the book itself in a minute, but first I want to discuss Shorts in general.
Not everyone is a fan of short stories, but I tend to think that has more to do with what readers are used to (printable novel-length fiction) because that’s all Traditional publishers have printed for years. But I can see the tides a’turning, and if more authors of Mr. Russell’s caliber put these collections out there, I think readers will see that shorts are not “lesser” stories, they are just condensed. And much easier to read while your standing in line at the Post-Office.
In fact, writing a top-notch story is arguably harder to accomplish. There is much less real estate involved, and each and every word must pack the proverbial gut-punch. Think of it this way, if you asked to explain something in under 50 words or with a 1,000 word limit, which do you think would be easier?
Now, with that said, not all Shorts are created equal. It’s very hard to tell a compelling, complete story, and sometimes the overall story may suffer. That is not true with this horror collection from Todd Russell. His prose is as cutting and sharp as a scalpel, and he minces no time in drawing readers into his warped world.
Most certainly not for the faint of heart, MENTAL SHRILLNESS explores, in bite-sized portions, universal themes of betrayal, lust, mental illness, undying love and desire, with disturbing finesse.
I was disturbed by these stories, especially Pains in the Glass, Falling In Bobbitt and Death Warmed Over, though not as much as I probably should have been. Instead of personally being grossed out, I was sucked into as a silent observer, very much involved in the stories. I could see them, smell them, hear them- essentially this book played out like short episodes in my mind. I felt more than I read, if that makes any sense.
The last story The Illusion whispered faintly of a specific Nathaniel Hawthorne story to me, but I can’t tell you why without telling you how. So instead, I invite you to read the story and post in the comments what story you think I’m referring to (explain yourself please as well) and there might be a goodie for whoever gets it right first. I must warn you though, the connection is tenuous at best, and I may be inventing it completely, but I do feel even my imagined binding-thread speaks volumes for the high level of writing in this collection.
The included Author’s notes are damn-near as interesting as the stories themselves, and it’s not everyday that you get to hear the method behind the madness. So, if you feel brave enough, drop a trail of breadcrumbs behind you, grab a flashlight, and enter into MENTAL SHRILLNESS.
Posted on July 19, 2011, in authors, books, Indie authors, rants, Writing and tagged book review, books, craft of writing, ebook, ebooks, fiction, horror, indie books, Kindle, reading, short stories, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.