When it comes to chapbooks, I tend to prefer vibrant displays of poetic wordplay, intense gore, or creepy-crawley quickies that are good for a fix. With Heart of Glass, I didn’t get any of that. What I did get was far better. This is a piece that picked me straight up out of my reading chair and into a completely different place.
Heart Of Glass is an incredibly well paced story with an end resulting in a feeling I didn’t expect at all. After all, it’d been a long time since I’d felt this. What was it, you ask? Well… I felt surprised. In a good way.
Time has not been kind to Adam and Sonia’s marriage. They have drifted away from each other and barely speak anymore. On a trip to the local antiques mall, Adam finds a jigsaw puzzle made of clear glass. He believes that working on the puzzle together may help with their problems. However, the puzzle has a strange hold on Adam, and what he thought might bring him and Sonia together threatens to tear them apart forever.
The pace of this story is very… I don’t know… it’s not quick, but it’s not slow. It’s moreso an incredibly stable, dependable story that really doesn’t give you any allusions as to where it’s going. Winnick builds characters that speak to the reader very clearly, and never waver. Like I said, this is a very stable story. One of the most solid ones I’ve read in a while, to be honest.
His main character, Adam, is pretty standard issue, but delivered with enough finesse to stand apart from the masses. He’s just like any old American Joe, really, but Winnick adds a subtle layer or two to the man that makes him feel more 3 dimensional than those who you may find in any other genre fare. I have a feeling that if this character had been written in a more dynamic sense, it would have set a different feel throughout the story, and completely destroyed the illusion that the author carefully creates throughout this work of art.
Everything is very carefuly orchestrated towards a single overall feeling or loss and frustration on the part of the two main characters. That is, until the end of the story – the moment when he pulls the rug out from under everybody and everything. It’s genuinely incredible, and heart-breaking, in a way. In what is one of the most unexpected endings I’ve ever read, Winnick completely turns the tables and provides an ending that defies the entire tone of the story. It’s a great revelation, and a really fresh and interesting way to finish off the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, making Heart Of Glass one of my favorite reads of the year.
Heart of Glass is short, solidly written, and thoroughly enjoyable. Take a look at Bad Moon Books‘ catalogue for more stellar horror fare, and grab yourself a copy of this chapbook on Amazon as an ebook.