If this had to be a one line review of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet all that need be written would be, “showcases the masturbatory heights and depths that fiction is capable of.” But, a phrase like that usually requires explanation. If there’s an overarching theme to this issue it might be the assumption that the reader will accept the worlds and situations written here as they are–there is little or no explanation offered. All these stories have an other-worldly quality, like the stream-of-consciousness writing of a syntactical genius. These stories are a catalogue of madnesses, all carrying with them a sense of dread that never finds resolution, only the respite offered by the story’s end. That’s not to say that there isn’t humour here. Probably one of the greatest lines appears in the first story “The Night and Day War.” It’s a truth we’ve always known, but may not have had spelled out: “Vampires are made to wear clothing well and whale on people.” Even the ads aren’t a disruption to the mood: rather than an interruption, they seem to make a community out of what initially seems like a group of terminal navel-gazers. The overall effect is the feeling that you’ve been sucked into a fully-functioning surrealist society. Perhaps some of their stories are a touch long, and the last story in the collection is so cruel that it felt like a kick in the teeth, but these are definitely authors you want to spend some time with. (J. Blackmore)

Zine, Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link (Eds), issue 21, $5, Small Beer Press, 150 Pleasant Street, #306, Easthampton, MA, 01027, USA

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