ENANTIODROMIA: Collected Stories by Mike X Welch

click on the cover to buy the book

Enantiodromia is a book of short stories by Mike X Welch who is based in New York. A short while ago I received an email asking me if I might be interested in reading it, and offering to gift me a copy in exchange for an honest review. As it happens, I actually bought this one myself, and I am really glad I did.

The book begins with a quick explanation of the phenomenon followed by a Foreword by the author himself where he goes on to further explain the choice of title and what it means to him as a writer to have written this particular collection.

The stories within are of varying lengths and subject matter, they all fall within the realms of Horror but each one has it’s own life, the imagery is absolutely fantastic throughout and the research on this book seems extensive.

For an author to be able to pull off a collection of stories, each from a different culture is a great talent, but it also shows a dedication to learning, reading and researching the subject matter to such as degree as you can immerse yourself in it as a fly on the wall and not feel the need to ask questions. It handles difficult subject matters with grace, and whilst there is a small warning about content, it never labels itself as extreme – and that’s important.

There are five stories in the collection, all of them fantastic, all of them recommended.

However, if I had to choose favourites, I’d say Turning of The Bones and Peta Babkama Luruba were the ones that really made me sit up and listen. As a reader I delight in learning. It’s a part of the experience I’ve never claimed belongs to non-fiction. There is a learning opportunity in every book you pick up, you just have to find it. These two stories are both from cultures which are not my own, that’s your learning experience right there. It’s perfectly ok if you as a reader want to stay within a strict realm of what you enjoy, but for me, getting out of my own known world is a way of recapturing that exhilarating discomfort that I first found in Horror.

Turning of The Bones is written so eloquently that I questioned whether the author was of Madagascan heritage himself. As I continued through the book I realised that I felt the same way with the other stories.

I’ll say this: A brilliant author is one who has the ability to allow you to forget all about him, and focus only on the story. To make you step into the world they have created for you, into the shoes of the character they are presenting and experience it for yourself.

I would absolutely recommend this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will more than likely revisit it myself at some point, however I would like to draw your attention to the following excerpt from the Foreword:

“Right off the bat, I’d like to warn everyone ENANTIODROMIA contains horror stories that include, but are not limited to, murder, sex, sexual assault, the death of a child, heavy drinking, and much, much more. None of these subject matters are taken lightly.”

Personally, I think they were handled well, I think the author did a brilliant job of portraying just enough for what the story needed and to make the reader feel what the characters were feeling without it being distasteful. It’s written in a way that I would say is respectful. However if you know for a fact you are not going to do well with this, you need to take personal responsibility with deciding whether to pick up this book.

I didn’t know of Mike’s work before this book but I will certainly be checking out more of it and I am eagerly awaiting the release of The Vampire and the Dragon which tied a #1 in the Inkshares Horror Contest.

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