There has been quite the buzz surrounding Michael Wehunt’s debut collection of dark, weird fiction. Blurbs from some of the best in the genre have been waxing lyrical about his literary prose, unnerving themes and originality. But, what did I think?
‘Greener Pastures’ is one of the best collections of dark fiction I have read in the last few years. From the very first page, Wehunt draws you in and takes you on a lyrical journey through the darkest parts of your imagination. What really astounded me about this collection was the sheer originality of the pieces. It is amazing to think that this is a debut collection. Wehunt is in total command, painting a bleak picture where strange things lurk in the spaces between the darkness.
Several stories stood out for me, but the jewel in the crown was the title story ‘Greener Pastures’. This was actually one of the shorter stories but was incredible. A diner frequented by truck drivers is the setting. Two men discuss life on the road, questioning what lies between the nothingness of each town they pass through. One-by-one other drivers leave the diner attempting to locate the sounds coming out of the darkness until only one remains. I absolutely loved this story. The life of a long-distance driver must be a lonely one and this is captured perfectly in this short, dark tale.
‘Onanon’ and ‘October film Haunt’ were also highlights, though I got something from every story inside this outstanding collection. Another highlight was ‘Deducted From Your Share in Paradise’ in which a group of women fall from the sky, baffling the locals living in a trailer park…are they fallen angels? This was beautifully written and the story looks at how people abuse power. The book finishes on an emotional note with ‘Bookends’ – the story of a father coming to terms with the loss of his wife, during childbirth. This one really pulls at the heartstrings and is a great way to sign off on this superb collection.
There is a write up about each story at the books end. I always enjoy it when writers do this as I am fascinated as to where their ideas come from and what message they were trying to get across.
If you consider yourself a fan of dark fiction, weird horror, then ‘Greener Pastures’ is most definitely worthy of your time. A truly immense and unsettling debut.
Buy a copy of this book from here.