This is my first Malfi experience and I know it won't be my last.
These are the types of stories that worm their way into your brain, leave little trails of gasoline, and then light everything on fire when you least expect it. And they aren't just interesting and inventive stories, they are immaculately written too.
One thing that I found interesting was the wide variety of narrators that are used throughout the stories. And it didn't seem to just be a writing exercise for Malfi—each story was using first, third, or even the dreaded second person very purposefully to tell the story from the perspective that would tell it most effectively.
And he really got into the minds of the characters, sometimes in only a few pages! Not only is the dialogue very natural (not the easiest or most natural thing for many writers to get across) but the way the reader hears the private thoughts of each unique characters just impressed the hell out of me. Each story is its own devil. And these beasts have teeth.
The atmosphere created in these stories is something really unique. There is this creeping sense of dread Malfi cultivates early on in the stories, even when all seems normal and fine. You just know that something isn't quite right and you want to look away, but you have to keep reading. You have to know.
A few favorites were: "The Dinner Party," "Pembroke," and "The Good Father" though some of the short conceptual ones like "Knocking," "Closing In," and "In a Pet Shop" were chillingly perfect too. It is really hard to choose. Out of the twenty stories, there were only two or three that didn't hit it out of the park for me.
Highly recommended reading. I'm off to start one of his novels—I've heard great things about December Park!
Associate editor, amateur photdographer, bibliophile, and occasional sleuth.