Saturday, March 25, 2017

FRAGILE DREAMS by Philip Fracassi

This novella is simple but shockingly intense. After an earthquake rips through the Los Angeles area, Matthew Calvert is trapped in a collapsed office building. As the rubble slowly crushes him to death, he tries to hold on to hope for rescue, as well as keep his grip on reality as he realizes that there might be something else down there with him in the dark.

Philip Fracassi might end up being one of my favorite author discoveries this year. His prose-style is both soaring and fiercely intimate at the same time. The language here is vivid and evocative as he places you right there under all that rubble with Matthew, in the pitch-black darkness, with a piece of wall slowly breaking your spine and something unseen scuttling around you in the void. Here's an example of Fracassi's word-talent as he describes the earthquake:
The building gave in to the earth's desires, and graceless as a dying giant, it collapsed in an implosion of glass and concrete and iron, heaping itself atop the bodies within, burying everything inside of it in a tangled black mass of clumsy, angry death.
Fragile Dreams is a pretty unsettling experience but also emotional due to Fracassi's efficient character development. I also loved how he kept certain elements vague and mysterious, recognizing that much of his story's strength lies in the hidden and the unfathomable. The book also includes an unexpectedly playful and charming short story called "Death, My Old Friend," about a boy's lifelong friendship with Death. This is recommended to anyone that likes unnerving horror, or dark or weird fiction. Fracassi has a few new book's coming this year and I'll be buying them all.


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