Saturday, August 11, 2012

Book Review: Couillon

(Image:  Vaslav Nijinsky's tomb)

This isn't a book review per se, but a review of a short story written by a friend.  For you Kindle users, Couillon, is available for $0.99.  I posted a 5-star review on Amazon, but I've transcribed it here, in case you don't want to go jumping around on various links:

Sara Stark is indeed, a friend of mine.  However, this isn't why I'm giving her debut work a 5-star rating.

While I don't consider the protagonist, Janice, very high on the "likability scale," I grew to understand the motives behind her actions throughout the story.  Sara crafted a haunting, descriptive and clever tale, starting with the title--Couillon (pronounced "KOO-YOn"), which means fool, dupe and/or several other desparaging monikers.  In reading the story I discovered more layers and applications for this aptly-chose, one-word title.

Sara effectively captures the sights, sounds, dialect and even smells of New Orleans.  But she steers clear of pegging the story down to a specific time frame, beyond being "contemporary."  Vehicles, appliances and various common-place items are given generic descriptions, so the narrative has a timelessness to it.

The story itself follows the trajectory of a woman finding herself in an abusive marriage.  How Janice gets involved, then escapes, delves into the mind of someone truly desperate.  The protagonist, a woman with no self-worth, employs voodoo magic, to make her life better.  However, as in all "wish fullfilment" stories, the situation goes horribly awry.  However, even though Janice and some of those around her believe in the "old magic," the reader never sees any overt manifestations of the supernatural.  Unlike paranormal romances and thrillers, no zombies, aparitions, ghosts, or demons, burst out of portals to wreck havoc here on the material plane.  So the only horror in this story is one of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.  Nearly all the odd occurrences have a logical explaination.
Or do they?  The reader is left wondering.

And any story that leaves you wondering, long after you've read it, deserves a 5-star rating.
In case you're wondering why I chose Vaslav Nijinsky's tomb for the lead picture, you can Google-search the word "couillon,"--or better yet--buy Sara Stark's story.


Nellie said...

Thanks so much. I pushed the whole thing out to FB.

And OMG, I love the picture you displayed with the review. It's perfect.

Ted Henkle said...

You're welcome Nellie! I loved how you skirted the line between the real and the supernatural. The picture I found by way of googling "macabre gravestones."