Tuesday, May 22, 2012

MY REVIEW OF 'CARNIVAL FREAK' BY BILLIE SUE MOSIMAN

I was fortunate enough to read this delicious short story just after its release. As you can see I'm becoming a fan of Mrs. Mosiman's work, having started with `Wireman', and then following her up to her latest short masterpiece `Frankenstein: Return From the Wasteland'.
If you read my review about her take on Shelley's greatest, you'll register my initial skepticism, soon replaced by adoration for the piece.
This author has one of the rarest gifts in the writing world: versatility.
She could write a novel about Godzilla traveling back in time to save Abraham Lincoln and make it believable and interesting. She adapts her voice to the setting, yet here and there you can hear her distinctive use of words and lines, but she never intrudes, allowing you to enjoy her descriptions.
In short, you never hear her saying `Heck! Look how much I'm good at it!'
And this short tale is a marvelous example of it. Another author would have jumped at the opportunity to use his voice and style, wearing the clothes of the Carnival Barker, and guiding the reader into the dark side of the story.
Nope, with diligent professionalism, she stays out of the stage, and tells this tale in the manner of a consummate storyteller, as a master weaver of weird tales, just like the ones we used to watch in TV shows like `Tales from the Crypt', Twilight Zone, and many more.
And it's one of those rare tales of mirrors.
Do not look too close or you'll see the monster in you, because the longer you stare, the deeper you see.
And we all harbor monsters, don't we?
Don't we all slow down to peek at the result of a car crash? Yes, we all find excuses for that: 'I'd like to be of help', 'Maybe someone got hurt'.
But the monster inside us craves for blood, it really wants to see the mangled bodies, the pain.
That's why, deep inside, we all like freakshows. Today, we made illuminated laws to protect those unfortunate from humiliating and undeserved exhibit of themselves for the monster's enjoyment. But freakshows are still out there, in different guises. They hide on TV, in the news, in social networks and on youtube.
We keep feeding our monsters.
The freak of the side show may not be the ugliest and scariest at first glance, yet, once truth comes out, you'll find he has his place among the vilest of things.
But is he really?
Or are the watchers worse than the caged beast? He doesn't hide his nature, like them. He may be a monster, and he shows it, but are the avid and morbid onlookers more candid?
I don't think so.
And you'll discover why buying this excellent page-turner.





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