Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell

Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell

A gripping collection of six stories of terror—including the novella “The Visible Filth,” the basis for the upcoming major motion picture—by Shirley Jackson Award–winning author Nathan Ballingrud, hailed as a major new voice by Jeff VanderMeer, Paul Tremblay, and Carmen Maria Machado—“one of the most heavyweight horror authors out there” (The Verge). In his first collectio...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell
Author:Nathan Ballingrud
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell Reviews

  • Janie C.

    These stories emerge from the depths of mutated pyches, scarring the mind with indelible artistic configurations produced by the mutilation of accepted life forms. From the most remote corners of the abyss come sounds that can only be produced by torn and broken lives. These surfacing beings have been transformed into formidable and awe-inspiring atrocities. Beware the siren, as the song that emerges is as deadly as it is beautiful.

  • Michael Hicks

    Nathan Ballingrud makes for one hell of a tour guide along the border separating life on Earth from eternal damnation. His collection, Wounds, brings together six stories all about the permeation between these two realms.

    “The Atlas of Hell” kicks things off in remarkably strong fashion. Ballingrud delivers a work of Bayou noir that sees a rare book dealer pressed into service by his mob associates into recovering the atlas of Hell. There’s loa

    Nathan Ballingrud makes for one hell of a tour guide along the border separating life on Earth from eternal damnation. His collection, Wounds, brings together six stories all about the permeation between these two realms.

    “The Atlas of Hell” kicks things off in remarkably strong fashion. Ballingrud delivers a work of Bayou noir that sees a rare book dealer pressed into service by his mob associates into recovering the atlas of Hell. There’s loads of terrific imagery here, and I flat-out loved the concept of Ballingrud’s “astronauts” from Hell. The atlas itself was totally unlike anything I had expected, and the author exhibits a knack for overturning expectations over the course of Wounds’ other stories. There were a few elements I wish were explored a bit more deeply, such as a briefly glimpsed lake monster. It’s a minor quibble, to be sure, but also a positive in its own right as I immediately wanted more!

    “The Diabolist” follows the teenage daughter of a recently deceased occultist and her discovery of his misdeeds. We get a wonderfully unique narrator, and Ballingrud again subverts expectations with the particular choices he’s made here. “Skullpocket” was really the only story in Wounds that I didn’t much care for, and it felt a bit too Young Adult for me. It does have some nifty concepts, though, involving a small town and the literal monsters that live next door, the history of which is relayed to a group of children gathered to celebrate a ghouls deathday. It’s a mostly light-hearted, Gaiman-esque affair and a bit of midpoint palette cleanser before Wounds gets back to reveling in the darkness.

    “The Maw” features a small town of a different sort, one that has been utterly devastated by the denizens of Hell who have crossed the border and driven out any traces of humanity. Mix, a teenage girl, agrees to help Oscar navigate the suddenly foreign terrain, acting as a coyote/tour guide as she smuggles him into this dangerous wasteland in search of his lost dog. Ballingrud, again, proves to be a master of imagery, and the work of his Surgeons is truly nightmarish stuff.

    “The Visible Filth” is an incredibly potent story! Bartender Will finds a cell phone forgotten by a patron, and then makes the mistake of answering a text message on it. Darkness permeates this story the whole way through, and Ballingrud plays with our expectations of violence as the mental states of various characters shift in response to Will’s discovery of, and subsequent obsession with, this cell phone. There’s plenty of grisly imagery throughout, as well some hair-raising moments of pure haunting dread, such as a computer monitor broadcasting the image of a tunnel and what lurks inside. This one really got under my skin, and it’s a story that lingers well after you’ve finished reading it thanks to its ambiguities.

    “The Butchers Table” ends Wounds on a high note as Ballingrud takes us back in time to the Colonial era, where a group of Satanists have boarded a pirate ship setting sail across the border into Hell itself, where they hope to dine with their Dark Lord. Once again, Ballingrud provides some great imagery, especially the finale’s dining hall, and while not all loose ends are tied up oh so neatly, he does bring the overarching story twisting throughout each of Wounds’ stories full circle.

    As I noted above, permeability is key here and Ballingrud injects certain narrative strands in one story to be revisited later. Each of these six stories function well enough on their own, but when taken as a whole we’re presented with a richer tapestry and a fresh mythology on the nature of Hell on Earth that encompasses occult and cosmic horror, as well some dashes of fantasy here and there. The border separating us from Hell is highly diffuse, but thankfully the potent horrors pouring through are of the most engaging and entertaining sort. You might want to schedule a trip there soon.

    [Note: I received an advance reading copy of this title from the publisher, Saga Press.]

  • Tracy Robinson

    4.5 stars! This review will be up on

    on 4/9 - release day!

    Here's the full review:

    This collection contains five previously published stories and one brand new novella: “The Atlas of Hell” (2014), “The Diabolist” (2014), “Skullpocket” (2014), “The Maw” (2017), “The Visible Filth” (2015), and “The Butcher’s Table” (2019). Note: prior to reading this collection, I hadn’t previously read any of these pieces.

    “The Atlas of Hell”

    Jack is just a sweet used book seller who used to dea

    4.5 stars! This review will be up on

    on 4/9 - release day!

    Here's the full review:

    This collection contains five previously published stories and one brand new novella: “The Atlas of Hell” (2014), “The Diabolist” (2014), “Skullpocket” (2014), “The Maw” (2017), “The Visible Filth” (2015), and “The Butcher’s Table” (2019). Note: prior to reading this collection, I hadn’t previously read any of these pieces.

    “The Atlas of Hell”

    Jack is just a sweet used book seller who used to deal with some unsavory characters…or is he? This story is so much fun – Jack is roped into helping out some thugs “just one more time” as they search for the atlas of Hell. Don’t worry, that isn’t a spoiler, I’m always quite careful. I really enjoyed this one; a sense of adventure combines with hellish terrors, tentacles, and plenty of deception and gore. It left me hurrying to turn the page to see what else Ballingrud had in store for me.

    “The Diabolist”

    After this one, I really started to see the thread Ballingrud uses to weave these stories into a comprehensive collection. This time we hear the story from an unlikely narrator. Who this is is revealed early on, but I won’t tell you here…this is a fun discovery to make. I really enjoyed this one, I liked “Atlas” a little better, but again I found myself tearing through to the next one.

    “Skullpocket”

    Oh my goodness – when I finished this one I KNEW I had found one of my favorites. It is bizarre, unique, and just a beautiful story. This one deals with ghouls who have their own “city” and annual fair; the tale deals with explaining how things came to be and where they might go from here. This one? I’d read an entire novel or novel series built around this world. Loved every piece of it.

    “The Maw”

    This is a quiet tale of love and loss in a world gone to Hell. Literally. One of the shortest tales, it still packs a punch and is a strong middle to the collection. Sometimes in collections I find the stories kind of lag in the middle, not so here. Ballingrud also cements his ability to write as if one is experiencing his story on the big screen. No horrific detail is spared and he truly is able to build entire worlds in just a few pages. Definitely tugged at my heart strings.

    “The Visible Filth”

    Ohhhhh. This one. This one is right up there with “Skullpocket” for me. A more realistic world, to be certain, wonderful characters, and a premise that is at once familiar yet completely fresh. Will is just a bartender who wants to live his life in series of unplanned moments – just a laid back guy. He reminded me of some of the people I hung with in my own college years. Things go down in the bar one night and he ends up with a cell phone that is not his own. A cell phone he REALLY should’ve left alone. I’ll leave it at that. This story is also being developed for film; I am curious to see how they will interpret the nuances of the story.

    “The Butcher’s Table”

    As noted above, this novella is previously unpublished. It takes place years ago in a time of pirates and darkness. Of the six, I didn’t connect with this one as much. This is definitely just down to personal taste – the writing is still beautiful, the premise unique, and the characters are developed. One of my favorite parts of this one was the content – meaning Ballingrud goes dark here – darker (I think) than any of the others in the collection.

    All of these stories deal with, in some way, the veil or border between this reality and Hell, as noted in the title. But it’s more than just throwing together some stories about hellish things and travelling, the author uses similar themes, some intriguing “easter eggs”, if you will, throughout almost every story. In fact, the last story (and a few others) do this quite well and I thoroughly enjoy the elegant way in which these discoveries are presented.

    Looking for a few gripping tales to enjoy this spring and summer? This one fits the bill if you like your horror smooth, visceral, and altogether hellish.

  • Adam Nevill

    Been looking forward to this book from the moment I finished the last Nathan Ballingrud collection, a few years back. And I read my copy of 'Wounds' right after the book arrived. One evening and the following morning was all it took and I didn't want the stories to end.

    As with Nathan's first collection, I couldn't leave this one alone. Genuinely entertaining horror containing all of the dread and hideous aesthetics of the best in the field.

    The final novella - 'The Butcher's Table' - is new to th

    Been looking forward to this book from the moment I finished the last Nathan Ballingrud collection, a few years back. And I read my copy of 'Wounds' right after the book arrived. One evening and the following morning was all it took and I didn't want the stories to end.

    As with Nathan's first collection, I couldn't leave this one alone. Genuinely entertaining horror containing all of the dread and hideous aesthetics of the best in the field.

    The final novella - 'The Butcher's Table' - is new to this collection and a work of the imagination that gave me genuine awe, bringing Conrad, Tolkien and early Barker to my mind. I'm still thinking about the portrayal of hell that has the epic feel of the classic depictions, the hells of Milton and Dante. A story worth twice the price of the hardback alone.

    Get some.

  • Karl

    Contents:

    001 - "The Atlas Of Hell" (2014)

    030 - The Diabolist" (2014)

    049 - "Skullpocket" (2014)

    089 - "The Maw" (2017"

    108 - "The Visible Filth" (2015)

    178 - "The Butchers Table" (original to this collection)

    277 - Acknowledgments

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.