review

GROWING THINGS AND OTHER STORIES – PAUL TREMBLAY

Growing Things and Other StoriesGrowing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 4/5 cats
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a collection of stories! from paul tremblay! in which “karen brissette” appears in one and MAYBE two of the stories. although it’s pretty clear to ME that there’s no ‘maybe’ about it, coyboy. between the observation of “The cheerful unhinged-ness” of KB’s writing style and the mean-but-accurate grousing about “this obnoxious KB person” (well, i NEVER!!), i am absolutely certain of what those letters stand for. PAUL TREMBLAY!!! I WILL SHOW YOU A PSEUDONYM IN A HANDFUL OF DUST!!!

here is the TOC:

GROWING THINGS
SWIM WANTS TO KNOW IF IT’S AS BAD AS SWIM THINKS
SOMETHING ABOUT BIRDS
THE GETAWAY
NINETEEN SNAPSHOTS OF DENNISPORT
WHERE WE ALL WILL BE
THE TEACHER
NOTES FROM “THE BARN IN THE WILD”
__________
OUR TOWN’S MONSTER
A HAUNTED HOUSE IS A WHEEL UPON WHICH SOME ARE BROKEN
IT WON’T GO AWAY
NOTES FROM THE DOG WALKERS
FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR THE SOMNAMBULIST
THE ICE TOWER
THE SOCIETY OF THE MONSTERHOOD
HER RED RIGHT HAND
IT’S AGAINST THE LAW TO FEED THE DUCKS
THE THIRTEENTH TEMPLE

and if some of those titles look familiar to you, don’t worry – you are not going crazy! many of these stories have been scooped out of anthologies in which they previously appeared, including a few from tremblay’s first collection, In the Mean Time (Growing Things, It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks, The Teacher) which was my first introduction to his work and a book i loved, especially the duck story, which was one of my favorites from that book and i was thrilled to read it again after all this time and to find i loved it just as much.

so, yeah – maybe you have read some of these stories before. or maybe you are like me and you have bought several of these anthologies, in part because of seeing tremblay’s name on the cover, but you still haven’t actually gotten around to reading them (koff Dark Cities (Society of the Monsterhood), Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales: An Anthology (Something About Birds) koff)

but that just means that when i get around to reading those anthologies, it will go more quickly because reruns!

AND – the story from my more-recently-purchased New Fears 2: More New Horror Stories by Masters of the Macabre is NOT in this collection, so SCORE!

short story collections, especially ones pulling in works across a long period of time or from very specific “themed” anthologies, tend to be hit-or-miss. i didn’t love-love every story in this book, but it’s entirely down to my personal taste and – true to form – the ones i liked the least were written for lovecraft-themed anthologies (__________) or written as an homage to laird barron (Notes from ‘The Barn in the Wild’)– two authors i want to like because people i like are among their fans, but they do nothing at all for me. and the hellboy story (Her Red Right Hand) probably felt more ‘at home’ in its original surroundings. here it stands out a bit from the tone of the rest of the collection.

but there were some extremely high points.

A HAUNTED HOUSE IS A WHEEL UPON WHICH SOME ARE BROKEN

i have never been so close to crying during a choose your own adventure experience. not even when i was shrunk down very tiny and threatened by a cat

WHY YOU MAKE ME ALMOST-CRY, TREMBLAY??

NOTES FROM THE DOG WALKERS

this is the novella featuring that obnoxious KB person, and there are so many parts that sound like the inside of my head. IS THIS HOW SATAN FELT AFTER READING PARADISE LOST? but narcissism aside, it’s a brilliant story. and it’s meta for days

actually, the collection as a whole is wicked meta, if you know where to look. there are lots of little snickers to be had

but be warned – THE THIRTEENTH TEMPLE should probably not be read until after you have read A Head Full of Ghosts, because – to quote the sage karen brissette from that book – I WILL SPOIL YOU!

but as far as the KB in THIS story, everything “she” says about a person’s bookshelves, about short stories, about referential authors – so much gold, my friends. there’s this three-page chunk that is just perfection.

THE GETAWAY and NINETEEN SNAPSHOTS OF DENNISPORT were both great – gritty crime fiction, only one of which has supernatural/horror elements. I’LL LET YOU DISCOVER WHICH ONE FOR YOURSELF!

&etc. it’s a great collection, and i am obsessed with this cover.

It’s a hard world for little things.

indeed it is.

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update:

choose your own adventure story! fun! although maybe less-fun in an ARC:

***********************************************

IT HAS ARRIVED!!

and, DAMN, but paul tremblay always has such gorgeous covers:

it’s even prettier in person.

so, AM i the “kb” of “Notes from the Dog Walkers”? maybe, maybe not, but the fact that the character is so savvy-wary of birds speaks volumes

i can’t wait to read it and find out MORE!

thank you for the immortality and the ARC, paul tremblay!!!

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@PAUL TREMBLAY!!!

The tour de force metafictional novella “Notes from the Dog Walkers” deconstructs horror and publishing, possibly bringing in a character from A Head Full of Ghosts, all while serving as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.

is what i heard about this story from someone you evidently value more than you value me TRUE??

Growing Things also features stories with ties to Tremblay’s previous novels. In the metafictional novella “Notes from the Dog Walkers,” the blogger Karen Brissette (last seen in A Head Full of Ghosts) deconstructs the horror genre while also telling a story that serves as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.

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