Amelia Grey – Threats

Amelia Grey had no problem winning fans with her surreal and bizarre short fiction in her previous works AM/PM and Museum of the Weird.  And with her debut novel, Threats, she will likely only cement their fanaticism with her unique and experimental approach to surreal storytelling.

Grey’s latest book centralizes on David, a distracted and troubled man who has just lost his wife to a peculiar and mysterious scenario.  In the midst of his grief and cognitive decay, he begins to receive numerous threats through various mediums.  “I WILL CROSS-STITCH AN IMAGE OF YOUR FUTURE HOME BURNING. I WILL HANG THIS IMAGE OVER YOUR BED WHILE YOU SLEEP,” reads one threat.  Another reads, “CURL UP ON MY LAP.  LET ME BRUSH YOUR HAIR WITH MY FINGERS.  I AM SINGING YOU A LULLABY.  I AM TESTING FOR STRUCTURAL WEAKNESS IN YOUR SKULL.”  Meanwhile, a devout officer investigates the mystery of David’s wife’s death and the cryptic threats while David continues to unravel and fall further from reality.

Grey wastes no time in convincing the reader to fall in love with her still-paced story, her imaginative prose, and her near-perfection sentence construction.  Previous readers of Grey’s may approach the novel with skepticism, as many do when a short-story author succumbs to the pressure of legitimizing one’s self with the feat of a novel.  Grey meets the task with clever structure, fortunately, dividing a larger picture into numerous, interwoven glimpses that contribute to the ultimate completed puzzle but also stand alone as wonderful nuggets of literature.

And though the book can present some dark — if not grotesque — material, Grey’s wit and sharp insight highlight her bleak and heavy subject matter with a boundary-defying hilarity.  Sometimes the laughter can even stir moral conundrums, much like those excited by the film Man Bites Dog, where our laughs at the black comedy begin to decay into concerned thoughts:  should I still be amused?  Has it gone too far?  But no matter what dilemmas you face in the experience of Threats, you are better for it in the end.  Highly Recommended.

-Jared Micah


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