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Twisted by Nora Thompson


Tales to Rot Your Brain Vol. 1

by Nora Thompson

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0983669906
Publisher: Hairy Eyeballs Press

A clever collection of stories and comics by debut author Thompson.

An experienced illustrator and graphic designer, Thompson organizes this flash-fiction book into 28 extremely brief chapters on many subjects and uses both text and spacing to heighten interest. Her artwork tends toward the gory, though the drawings also contain elements of humor. The words themselves are arranged on the page for an atypical and interesting reading experience. Topics covered are: an exceptionally violent attack of sneezing, the potentially frightening consequences of ingestion of garlic toast, a librarian with a diabolical dedication to preserving quiet in her domain, multiple points of view of a particularly painful headache, the uneasy relationships between shadowy creatures and humans, the possible pitfalls of owning an unusual pet, and the rules for cooperation between monsters and parents. Thompson shines at using unexpected or multiple perspectives to breathe new life into conventional tales, with story endings that are surprising and skillfully foreshadowed. This balance between the unpredictable and the expected rewards rereading. Thompson uses amusing chapter titles like “Cleaver Over-Achiever” and “Lobotomy Pie,” and her phrasing is often similarly adroit. One chapter cautions that “monsters observed outside their work zones could lead to disbelief of parental monsterial explanations and, in turn, an inquiring child. Inquiring children shall be promptly tortured.”  Thompson also muses about “lots and lots of dreamy white jackets that buckle. In the back.”  Overall, the book delivers on its promise; readers who are not interested in disgusting, ironic stories would be wise to steer clear. Even readers seeking that sort of fiction may be disappointed, as the shock value wears off with the repetition of limited themes. Still, the book is an excellent example of its genre and will likely appeal to younger readers.

An assortment of repulsive yet funny chapters makes for a quick and enjoyable read.