If you’ve ever read under the covers at night, you know how a simple story can become an adventure. with the flashlight barely lighting the pages, and the certainty that you should have been asleep hours ago, every line turns into a stolen pleasure. The night air seems to crawl in under the covers to join you, painting simple words with layers of meaning.
Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day captures that under-the-covers feeling perfectly. It’s a compilation of surreal modern fairy tales that makes you feel like you are reading under the covers again.
The regular cast of characters reads like a Jhonen Vasquez comic. Nameless man, Nameless Woman, Boy, Girl, Alien, Moose, Severed Head, Goose-sized Stone, God. But from the templates of characters who are both someone and no one, complex stories are formed. Tales are told in lilting fairy-tale tones as the currents of a dark, drowning reality roar underfoot.
Every fairy tale has dark woods from which there is no escape. But these stories hold a darkness we know and live with every day. A darkness familiar to anyone who has ever asked who they are and what their place in the world actually is. Of course we know the boogey man. We see him in the mirror everyday.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t violent ends fitting of a fairy tale. This isn’t a psychological story, a puzzle of the mind. Blood, transformations, the walking dead, death out for a walk, and people simply disappearing happens around every corner. There is the danger of running into half-ton wildlife while sky diving.
But there is never a lack of hope, of potential, of possibility in any of the tales that are told. You want to see where the path through the dark woods goes. You want to see where the tale is taking you.
I know this review may seem ambivalent or flighty because I don’t seem to be describing plots, story structure, or a single thread that ties everything together. That’s because there isn’t one. Why would there be? What could be more entertaining than a book of Fairy Tales that Hunter S. Thompson could have story-boarded? Each and every tale is its own self contained nugget of how ordinary lives can fall screaming down the rabbit hole at break neck speed. Why would you need anything more?
Aside from childhood favorites – or books that I’ve had and kept for decades at a time – I can’t think of another book that has begged to be picked up again as often as this one has. I’ve certainly had the privilege of reading some fantastic books while reviewing for Luxury Reading – Yours Ever, Either You’re In or You’re In the Way, and Original Sinners have all been particular favorites.
But I can honestly say Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day still calls to me – days or weeks after the last time I put it down. I highly recommend you pick up your version today. Covers and a flashlight optional.
Leigh is a fearless writer who never met a genre, subject, or format she didn’t like. She has written professionally for the past six years and enjoys biking, exploring odd corners of Northeast Ohio, and discovering those good books she hasn’t read yet.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.