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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Down to a Sunless Sea

Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese
Rating: 4/5
Reason for Reading: Short Story Challenge

If I had finished in time I would have totally counted this book for the R.I.P. III Challenge. It is a collection of short stories that dive into the darker impulses in human nature. The author worked as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist for twenty-five years; some of the stories seem positively inspired by clients.

"Little Errands" for example, described in pitch perfect detail the mental tortures the Obsessive-Compulsive person puts themselves through. Oblivious to the possibility that things have worked out exactly they way they should, the narrator imagines each possible scenario of what may have gone wrong with the letters they have just placed in the mailbox.

Other stories I especially enjoyed were "Echo", about the vagaries of male friendships, and "Alabaster", in which a young boy recalls his conversation with an old woman living next to him.

All of the stories had a "dark" element to them. I was strongly reminded of my Abnormal Psychology class reading this collection. The dynamics of abuse. The edges of mental illness. The macabre.

Recommended if you enjoy a bit of the "dark side" in your short story reading.

Other reviews:
Andilit.com, Estella's Revenge, Out of the Blue, Bookfoolery & Babble, Dolce Bellezza

9 comments:

Trish said...

I have this one sitting right next to me, actually. I'm a little afraid to read it because the introduction was sooooo dark. 4/5 seems like a pretty good rating, though.

Andi said...

This one has been on my stacks for farrr too long!

Bookfool said...

It's a dark one, all right, but I think some of those stories are really powerful (and one was kind of funny). Great review and thanks for linking to my review!

Chris said...

I don't know why I haven't read this one yet?! I have it sitting on my shelf...someone smack me :p

mathias freese said...

dear Kim: thank you for the review;however, i must disabuse you of the notion that former clients inspired my stories. Most if not all of them were written and published before i was in private practice. i am a writer who happens to be a therapist and not the other way round. next time i publish i will leave off my credits and be judged by what i present the reader. Being a therapist guarantees nothing; it just deepens your insight into that catastrophe known as homo sapien

mathias freese said...

dear Kim: thank you for the review;however, i must disabuse you of the notion that former clients inspired my stories. Most if not all of them were written and published before i was in private practice. i am a writer who happens to be a therapist and not the other way round. next time i publish i will leave off my credits and be judged by what i present the reader. Being a therapist guarantees nothing; it just deepens your insight into that catastrophe known as homo sapien

mathias freese said...

dear Kim: thank you for the review;however, i must disabuse you of the notion that former clients inspired my stories. Most if not all of them were written and published before i was in private practice. i am a writer who happens to be a therapist and not the other way round. next time i publish i will leave off my credits and be judged by what i present the reader. Being a therapist guarantees nothing; it just deepens your insight into that catastrophe known as homo sapien

mathias freese said...

excuse the repetition; at a hotel computer and it has a mind of its own.
matt

Literary Feline said...

I liked this collection of short stories too. They were definitely dark, but very revealing. I've linked your review to my own. :-)