Gardner obviously takes her time crafting these images and emotions, supplying the reader with the what she believes will make for a truly unsettling, yet thoroughly mindblowing array of literary voices. So much so that story culminates in a heart pounding ending that begs the reader to replay the entire tale in their head immediately upon completion. A whirlwind of greatness is contained within the pages of yet another brilliant Spectral Press release.
In the ballroom, wallflower mannequins stretch their fingers towards Ron. He can’t ask them to dance. He’s already waltzing with other ghosts.
someone stole the world while Ron conemplated death. They packed it in a briefcase and dumped him in the halls of the ruined hotel – The Vestibule. A nowhere place.
Gardner sets this short story up with a very dominant sense of gloom, introducing a character that exhudes sadness as if it were a very coporeal aura surrounding his entire being. We watch as Ron contemplates suicide, physically standing on the kerb side, but also in the lonliest place he could possibly be – his own mind. Gardner is very adept at making the reader feel the pain of this character, making it almost too difficult to work from sentence to sentence, but also encouraging him to persevere with subtle hints of what is yet to come and strange happenings that entice the mind to follow. From the beginning, we know there is much more to this story than originally revealed.
The pace of this story is interesting. At times, it meanders along, not really going very quickly, but instead allowing the reader to take in the sights. At other times, the author blasts so much information at the reader that they might feel as if this is an insane rollecoaster ride. The whole feel is very psychedelic and raw, with the above mentioned sense of gloom feeling like a storm cloud on the verge of dropping a deluge of rainwater. Gardner keeps this flow perfectly throughout the entire chapbook, never once breaking for a literary ray of sunlight.
Having said that, while dark and oft-times very bleak, the story does have an upside… if you look deep enough. It’s there, but its hidden under layers of metaphor, rich and expertly crafted visuals, and raw emotive prose. Gardner is incredibly gifted, and succeeds in bringing the reader on a very strange, wild, and mind bending journey into the heart of emotional pain. Nowhere Hall is a powerful little book that will leave its mark on your psyche for much time to come.
As usual, Spectral Press has offered a fantastic piece of fiction that isn’t confined to any genre or sub-genre. The releases that have been coming out of this press are incredible, and don’t show any signs of letting up in quality. Make sure you go take a look at Spectral’s upcoming releases, and give Cate Gardner‘s website a gander as well.