September 12, 2016 by T.E. Grau
“Painting a Beautiful Ruin.” Man, I really like that, and very much appreciate the new review of my collection at Soft Disturbances, the handsome site of handsome-pants author, editor, and Malta Today film critic Teodor Reljic.
Aside from us sharing a noble given name, he really seemed to “get” the stories, and clocked me where I need to be clocked. I’m very grateful for the read, and to Teodor taking the time to put his thoughts into wonderfully constructed words. Also, anytime one can be associated – no matter how remotely – with Nathan Ballingrud, and have a tale described as “a modern picaresque story with a Dickensian dynamic at its core,” it’s a good day, indeed.
“It’s a testament to Grau’s ability to wring horror out of any situation, which is made all the more seductive and poignant by his command of the language.
In fact, Grau’s emphatically non-minimalist style holds him in good stead throughout, and on this point he’s very much in line with Ballingrud’s approach to the genre. It’s not so much about ‘sweetening the pill’ of the horror with beautiful language. If anything, it’s rather the opposite: the language immerses you into the tale, and Grau is also careful to add texture and nuance to his characters – making the hammer fall all the harder when it does.
But the writing is also, quite simply, a pleasure to savour, and notable passages can be picked more or less at random throughout the collection…”