I really enjoyed Philip’s previous novella ‘Alter’, released earlier this year. It took a day trip to the swimming pool and transformed it into a Lovecraftian nightmare. ‘Fragile Dreams’ is his latest release and although it didn’t quite hit the same high as ‘Alter’ did, it is still a fine, fine piece of work.
We follow the events of an earthquake in Los Angeles where Matthew Calvert is attending a job interview. The building he is in is reduced to rubble and Calvert is pinned underneath the debris. What follows are a series of flashbacks Calvert has as his body slowly succumbs to his injuries. The fact that there seems little chance of survival is only one of the problems that Matthew faces. Something stirs below him, whispering to him and trying to pull him down further into the darkness.
‘Fragile Dreams’ succeeds by having an engaging character in Matthew Calvert and you can really feel the helplessness of his dire situation. As Calvert reflects on his life we become more acquainted with him as a person and feel great pity as he descends further into shock. The claustrophobic feel of being entombed in rock is well done and the novella length is perfect for the story.
It didn’t quite punch me in the same way as ‘Alter’ did but it is still another fine addition to the Fracassi collection. Philip Fracassi is deft at being able to create everyday, three-dimensional characters and putting them in situations that gradually get worse and worse. I enjoyed the direction this story took and felt the Lovecraftian influences were not overdone. In fact they added another level of despair to what is already a grim read.
Pick up a copy of ‘Fragile dreams’ from here.