Supernatural talk and tales from a Newfoundland poet and lifelong resident.
Being more “talk” than “tales,” the nine episodes are mostly reminiscences in which narrators of both sexes recall hearing about the encounters of others with eldritch folk in spooky settings, including a headless ghost, a changeling in their baby’s crib, flickering “corpse candles” in a graveyard, or in some cases just scary spots in the woods. Though Dawe supplies source notes with further anecdotes, it’s not clear whether he’s actually recording stories he heard or spinning fragmentary memories and standard folkloric motifs into fictive creations. In either case, despite atmospheric language and Tomova’s dark and eerie linocut illustrations, readers are likely to feel distanced by the second- (or third-) hand narratives. Nor, though the author often refers to real locales, is there much beyond a vaguely Celtic air to give the tales a flavorsome sense of specific place or culture. There is no sign of racial or ethnic diversity in either pictures or text.
A few mild chills but bland and generic fare overall.
(Folkloric short stories. 8-11)