British author Hofstatter goes from
strength to strength in this new novella, which tells the story of Aurel, a
sleepwalker whose nocturnal activities cause the undoing of his marriage - and
far, far worse. Hofstatter’s last
collection of short stories, Amaranthine,
proved his ability to hook the reader into a tightly woven tale, and his
previous novelette, Katarina,
demonstrated that the best tales of dark fantasy linger in the mind long after
they have been read. And so it is with Hofstatter’s latest, another bold and
highly accomplished work.
Rare Breeds presents a world that is
at once recognisable, if slightly odd. However, Hofstatter’s great talent is to
spiral believable, realistically drawn characters into an ever more bizarre and
worsening situation, so that what starts off as clearly defined normality becomes
increasingly fantastical and troubling, but always remains believable. Not many
authors are able to pull of this trick as well as Hofstatter does here – so
without giving anything more away –
there are some delightfully perverse plot twists in Rare Breeds that will draw you deeper and deeper into darker territory
as the story goes along. And, yes, the ending will linger long in your mind.
Rare Breeds merely operated on the
level of a good story well told, it would still be worth a read, but Hofstatter
gives us more than just an entertaining tale. As novelist Paul Kane writes in
his introduction to Rare Breeds, this
is a story of ‘not only forbidden love, but what we’ll do for love. A story of “what if the past is coming back to haunt
us”, and a commentary on the breakdown of modern families.’ Any more than that
would entail spoilers, so it’s best to leave it there and let readers discover
Hofstatter’s impressive novella for themselves.
REVIEW: RARE BREEDS / AUTHOR: ERIK HOFSTATTER / ILLUSTRATIONS BY JACK LARSON /
PUBLISHER: DARK SILO PRESS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW.