Wounds
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 collection, North American Lake Monsters, Nathan Ballingrud carved out a distinctly singular place in American fiction with his “piercing and merciless” (Toronto Globe and Mail) portrayals of the monsters that haunt our lives—both real and imagined: “What Nathan Ballingrud does in North American Lake Monsters is to reinvigorate the horror tradition” (Los Angeles Review of Books). Now, in Wounds, Ballingrud follows up with an even more confounding, strange, and utterly entrancing collection of six stories, including one new novella. From the eerie dread descending upon a New Orleans dive bartender after a cell phone is left behind in a rollicking bar fight in “The Visible Filth” to the search for the map of hell in “The Butcher’s Table,” Ballingrud’s beautifully crafted stories are riveting in their quietly terrifying depictions of the murky line between the known and the unknown.

Wounds Details

TitleWounds
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 9th, 2019
PublisherGallery / Saga Press
ISBN-139781534449923
Rating
GenreHorror, Short Stories, Novella, Fiction

Wounds Review

  • Adam Nevill
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Karl
    January 1, 1970
    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
  • Michael Hicks
    January 1, 1970
    My review of WOUNDS can be found at High Fever Books.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 My review of WOUNDS can be found at High Fever Books.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.]
    more
  • Tracy Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars! This review will be up on www.scifiandscary.com 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 www.scifiandscary.com 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.
    more
  • matthew
    January 1, 1970
    Wounds was tremendous, easily one of the best single author short story collections I've ever read. I had read two of the six stories already—"Atlas of Hell" in Year's Best Weird Fiction and "The Visible Filth" in chapbook format, which I guess makes me one of those weird fiction/horror nerds. The other four stories, new to me, with one being new to the collection, ranged from ok ("The Diabolist") to absolutely one of my all-time favourite ever ("The Butchers Table"). The collection is loosely, Wounds was tremendous, easily one of the best single author short story collections I've ever read. I had read two of the six stories already—"Atlas of Hell" in Year's Best Weird Fiction and "The Visible Filth" in chapbook format, which I guess makes me one of those weird fiction/horror nerds. The other four stories, new to me, with one being new to the collection, ranged from ok ("The Diabolist") to absolutely one of my all-time favourite ever ("The Butchers Table"). The collection is loosely, very loosely interconnected, mostly in how the borders of Hell rub up against our world, with all kinds of terrible things bleeding over into our reality. In "Skullpocket," a small town lives somewhat uneasily with a house full of ghouls, whose religion has seeped into the minds of townsfolk, replacing the Christian Church. Every year, children are summoned, by dream, to the house of the ghouls where they learn of the very first ritual in which they're current partaking. It's wonderfully plotted, cutting between flashback and the present, all the while the readers' idea of this story-world coheres, culminating in an incredible "punchline" at the end. "The Maw," which would have been my favourite story if but for the finale, reminded me of Alan Moore: a neighbourhood has been invaded by things from Hell and a small economy has built up in the aftermath: people desperate to find loved ones, mementos, etc left behind in the neighbourhood pay wily children to guide them through the Hellish urban space, where Surgeons, tall shadowy figures who create walls of human flesh, roam, and gaping maws of teeth and skin breathe from the centre of buildings. The last story, "The Butchers Table" might be described as an R-rated Pirates of the Caribbean: a group of Satanists employ a pirate ship to take them to the borders of Hell, where they will Feast on a human being and summon the Dark Lord himself. Hot on their tail are a quartet of hungry, mindless angels who can possess anything, even if the possession in turn destroys the physical body of the host. However, not all the human characters have the same goal; there are competing organizations of Satanists with different plans, a hired bodyguard with ambitions, and a gay Captain in search of his lover left behind in Hell the last time they were there. It all culminates in some of the best plotted finales I've ever read, full of blood and gore and reveals, and did I mention a kraken possessed by an angel? Ballingrud's imagination is on fire with these stories. I can't wait to follow him back into Hell. Highly recommended.
    more
  • Joe Quenell
    January 1, 1970
    Nathan Ballingrud is one of my favorite short story writers. North American Lake Monsters knocked me on my head with its “Raymond Carver meets existential horror” approach, and to this day probably remains my favorite single-author collection of horror fiction. “Wounds” had a lot to live up to. I’m so pleased that it’s every bit as good as its predecessor. “Wounds” consists of 6 stories, all varying stylistically and thematically. There is much more of a pulp horror feel compared to some of Ball Nathan Ballingrud is one of my favorite short story writers. North American Lake Monsters knocked me on my head with its “Raymond Carver meets existential horror” approach, and to this day probably remains my favorite single-author collection of horror fiction. “Wounds” had a lot to live up to. I’m so pleased that it’s every bit as good as its predecessor. “Wounds” consists of 6 stories, all varying stylistically and thematically. There is much more of a pulp horror feel compared to some of Ballingrud’s prior work—some of the stories wouldn’t feel out of place in back issues of EC Comics. The horror imagery is cranked to 11, and the violence is sometimes over-the-top. But the humanity and heartbreak of NALM is still present in these stories. Every story left me feeling emotionally winded by the end. I commend Ballingrud for keeping this collection to 6 long stories; this is a prime example of quality over quantity. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite story, as I immensely enjoyed all of them. But the updated version of The Visible Filth, The Atlas of Hell, and The Maw were all standouts to me. This collection was gorgeous and I can’t read to read whatever comes next from Nathan Ballingrud.
    more
  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    Review:A literary gothic grotesque extravaganza extraordinary horror inferno walking living breathing ballads of hell in the narrative.Consuming stories vividly evoked and careful crafted with arcaneness taken the reader the precipice of malevolence with aspects of an inferno conjured and envisioned by the author.Four of six for me the most notable.The Atlas of HellLittle bookstore in New Orleans, Oleander Books, lurks owner Jack Oleander one connoisseur and acquisitor of books, legally and ille Review:A literary gothic grotesque extravaganza extraordinary horror inferno walking living breathing ballads of hell in the narrative.Consuming stories vividly evoked and careful crafted with arcaneness taken the reader the precipice of malevolence with aspects of an inferno conjured and envisioned by the author.Four of six for me the most notable.The Atlas of HellLittle bookstore in New Orleans, Oleander Books, lurks owner Jack Oleander one connoisseur and acquisitor of books, legally and illegally.There talk of a book, a guide, not one like the one in that movie with Jonny deep, The Ninth Gate, but a doorway to hell upon the earth summonings and becomings and the arcane emanating violence decay and destruction from its presence not something to be in the hands of evildoers. Beseeching one to violent impulses and desires a languages of different tongues ones of Hell awaits the doomed in its proximity.The DiabolistPossibly an imp, maybe demon or a labourer form another realm.Spoken things of the unspoken in this tale.An offering one of a Ballard of hell a token of loyalty and sacrifice.Possession of denizens of a town to another.SkullpocketSomething wicked this way comes, talk of ghouls, death, rituals, dreams, fairs, charnel houses, with meetings feeling the creepiness and haunting presence narrated in the Church of the Worm to children.Already on my way to his Hob’s Landing ,what great treats awaiting, what great frights and hauntings.One best of the six tales.A hamlet of horrors awaits all serving the maggot.Visible FilthRation to irrational Invisible to visible Curiosity of the darkness in video and images represents something grotesque and unfathomable.There is to be a movie adapted from this, looking at the trailer and the content in this, it will be a gory flick that I hope does not induce shudders and concoct nightmares.Channels of an irrepressible corruptible kind unleashed with the grotesque, shame, fear, and the bizarre in motion.Review also @ More2Read
    more
  • Orrin Grey
    January 1, 1970
    In the introduction that he was kind enough to add to the hardcover reissue of my first collection, Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings, Nathan Ballingrud wrote, "Orrin Grey is a writer who reminded me of things about myself, and about our haunted world, that I'd forgotten. He reminded me of my first loves, and he taught me that they can - no, that they should - still be honored. For that, I will always be in his debt."If I had even the smallest hand in helping to usher into existence any o In the introduction that he was kind enough to add to the hardcover reissue of my first collection, Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings, Nathan Ballingrud wrote, "Orrin Grey is a writer who reminded me of things about myself, and about our haunted world, that I'd forgotten. He reminded me of my first loves, and he taught me that they can - no, that they should - still be honored. For that, I will always be in his debt."If I had even the smallest hand in helping to usher into existence any of the stories contained in Wounds, a book in which, through six stories at once seemingly unrelated and intimately related nonetheless, Ballingrud charts a new vision of Hell as pure and potent as anything conjured by Dante or Barker, then I'll count it among the better achievements in my life to date.
    more
  • Ada Veen
    January 1, 1970
    An unsettling collection of the urban fantastic with a historical pirate novella tying it all together. If you're a fan of horror and wonder in equal suffocating measure, you'll love this book.
  • Adam
    January 1, 1970
    The story that opens Wounds would fit right in with the grimy, dismal horror realism of North American Lake Monsters. It takes place in a New Orleans full of cruel and desperate people dealing with even deeper and dingier evils. But there's a hint of lightness about it that wasn't present in Ballingrud's previous collection, and as this one goes one, it becomes clear that the first story is sort of a pivot into a completely new kind of Weird, one with a dark, playful humor and exuberant mytholog The story that opens Wounds would fit right in with the grimy, dismal horror realism of North American Lake Monsters. It takes place in a New Orleans full of cruel and desperate people dealing with even deeper and dingier evils. But there's a hint of lightness about it that wasn't present in Ballingrud's previous collection, and as this one goes one, it becomes clear that the first story is sort of a pivot into a completely new kind of Weird, one with a dark, playful humor and exuberant mythology to its horror fantasy. Where Lake Monsters felt like Ballingrud doing Laird Barron better than Barron ever did, Wounds reminds me more than anything of a particular strain of Jeffrey Ford's stories, the ones that mix a brutal and bloody mind with a gleeful sense of narrative possibility. The stories in Wounds get progressively more fun and baroque as the book goes on, leading us from that first shy peak into a quite literal fresh hell. In other words, it does exactly what I always wish these sorts of stories would do. Instead of climaxing on the first reveal, it uses it as a new baseline to dive even deeper. Ballingrud doesn't just use the four stories that seem to be new for this volume (excluding Skullpocket and TVF) to repeatedly tease the existence of his new Hell. Each of them gives a new perspective on the history and mechanics of this world, and the ways it intersects with our own. And I loved the vision of Hell this book paints. It reminds me of Wayne Barlowe's spectacular hell series, and though it's not quite that extravagant, it achieves the same sense of a truly alien wilderness, a place tantalizingly familiar and thoroughly hostile but with a deep-time history wholly apart from any sense of designed torture. I've seen other reviewers focus on Skullpocket, which even more than the previously-published Visible Filth is kind of the odd fuck here. I can't say it tickled my fancy in quite the way the rest of the stories did, though it's not bad by any means. I would love to see more writers try to walk the line of Addams Family weird horror comedy it touches on, but it just doesn't go quite far enough in that direction to satisfy. Some major emotional beats get a lot of weight here and neither of them quite justified it for me. It's a superficially very "fun" story, but under the hood it has ambitions that just don't match that very well. In a collection of similar experiments it wouldn't stand out, but with such a focused collection, I kind of begrudged the digression. For me, the crown jewel of the collection is the final novella, Butcher's Table. For one thing, it's a proof of concept for the idea that you can follow up your enticing and evocative hints of cosmic horror with a unhesitating dive straight into hell without losing any of the awe and wonder. It's also historical dark fantasy – which I love and can never get enough of – but more than that, it's specifically the fulfillment of a wish I'd had for years: Black Sails meets Bloodborne. The plot is an absolute romp, a cast of colorful characters scheming for strange ends about a pirate ship. In other words, Black Sails in miniature. But as much as I love Black Sails just the way it is, there was always a part of me that wished I had gone in a completely different direction and embraced a dark fantasy horror ecology to match its political complexity. Butcher's Table delivers exactly what I had in mind. There are secret societies of British aristocrats dabbling in forces they don't understand, secret societies of British aristocrats carrying out ritualized atrocities, interdimensional scavengers manifesting as nautical horrors, economies trading in otherworldly flesh, and a travel and communications infrastructure that gives the illusion of control and empowerment but reveals nothing of the deeper nature of this world. And it climaxes in an absolutely glorious setpiece of gore, tragicomedy, and bizarrely grandiose fantasy landscapes. I loved it.
    more
  • Alan Baxter
    January 1, 1970
    WOUNDS has been one of my most anticipated books of the year and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s absolutely outstanding. The new novella therein, The Butcher’s Table, is an epic achievement. Don’t miss this one, folks. ‪WOUNDS has been one of my most anticipated books of the year and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s absolutely outstanding. The new novella therein, The Butcher’s Table, is an epic achievement. Don’t miss this one, folks.
    more
  • Corey Farrenkopf
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best horror collections I've read in years. Insanely creepy and beautifully written. There's a little bit of everything in here: Pirate inspired horror, Bayou inspired horror, smartphone inspired horror, carnival inspired horror. You'll definitely never think about Angels again in the same way after you finish these six stories.
    more
  • Delany Holcomb
    January 1, 1970
    Obscure and other-worldly, Wounds (previously Atlas of Hell) is a clever and “fun” amalgamation of downright hellish tales. I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation from Ballingrud and recommend it to any fans of horror or obscured romanticism. Think Heironymus Bosch paintings in literary form.
    more
  • Kevin Jones
    January 1, 1970
    "Love is Hell's breath."The implication of those four, short words from one of the most dazzling, intense pieces of weird fiction I have ever read - The Butcher's Table - drifts throughout this collection of six stories. Love is an unexpected theme that appears in all of these stories in various forms. Whether it's a father's love for his son, a husband's love for a lost wife, a man's love for for his dog, or the forbidden love of two people from different backgrounds, these stories plumb the de "Love is Hell's breath."The implication of those four, short words from one of the most dazzling, intense pieces of weird fiction I have ever read - The Butcher's Table - drifts throughout this collection of six stories. Love is an unexpected theme that appears in all of these stories in various forms. Whether it's a father's love for his son, a husband's love for a lost wife, a man's love for for his dog, or the forbidden love of two people from different backgrounds, these stories plumb the depths of the horrors that love can unleash. I am also blown away by the intensity of the hellish, nightmarish visions burned across these pages. Although each story stands alone, the reader is treated to glimpses of a common vision of Hell that is only partially glimpsed through references to Love Mills, Order of the Black Iron, and a certain, macabre sort of kite. In particular, the story "The Visible Filth" took on greater depth and meaning for me upon re-reading it in the context of this full collection. I will definitely becoming back to this collection for another reading at some point but will have plenty to haunt me until such time.
    more
  • Briana
    January 1, 1970
    A Hell of a TimeI've been a fan of Nathan's work since first stumbling across it in one of Ellen Datlow's anthologies. I was delighted when North American Lake Monsters came out and spent a long six years eagerly awaiting more. I have to say, Wounds was well worth every anxious moment of impatience. The characters were compellingly rendered in each story. Ranging mostly from the darker side or morally gray to outright pitch black, each of them was compelling in their own unique ways and they all A Hell of a TimeI've been a fan of Nathan's work since first stumbling across it in one of Ellen Datlow's anthologies. I was delighted when North American Lake Monsters came out and spent a long six years eagerly awaiting more. I have to say, Wounds was well worth every anxious moment of impatience. The characters were compellingly rendered in each story. Ranging mostly from the darker side or morally gray to outright pitch black, each of them was compelling in their own unique ways and they all felt fully realized. Although the grotesque imagery and darkness of the themes are as fine as you could hope for in the genre, it's the strength of the character work that really makes this collection so powerful.I loved the recurring little details that helped connect the stories, and the thought of combing through them all again for more connections I missed had me eager for a re-read. I can't remember the last time I was this completely happy with a short story collection. Now I've just got to buy a few more copies for friends so I can have someone to talk about it with.
    more
  • Katie B.
    January 1, 1970
    Ballingrud steals my heart (and soul) with this incredible collection of tales from the borders of hell. Many thanks to the publisher who released a version of The Visible Filth early! That was great fun to read. As much as I might try, I don’t know if I can give an unbiased review. Ballingrud is one of my favorite authors of the macabre. His slow, southern gothic, noir approach to horror comes alive in his previous collection of stories - North American Lake Monsters - and continues in this new Ballingrud steals my heart (and soul) with this incredible collection of tales from the borders of hell. Many thanks to the publisher who released a version of The Visible Filth early! That was great fun to read. As much as I might try, I don’t know if I can give an unbiased review. Ballingrud is one of my favorite authors of the macabre. His slow, southern gothic, noir approach to horror comes alive in his previous collection of stories - North American Lake Monsters - and continues in this new collection. Wounds tosses readers immediately into a dark and uncomfortable place. The idea of hell-astronauts, diabolist, The Candlelight Society, pirates!, tanks of demons!, mobsters, a bartender, and a rare book dealer all merging together to navigate the terrain of the occult and skirt the hellmouth is absolutely thrilling.
    more
  • David Rex
    January 1, 1970
    It would be a disservice to call Wounds anything short of an accomplishment. More than once I found myself physically reacting to the stories. Sometimes it was letting my jaw drop in horror, but more impactful still were the moments where I felt the pang of something poignant stirring in the offal. The book operates in the realms of viscera and gore a little more than I am typically comfortable, but the moments in it range from horrifying to lovely with such great effect that I couldn't help but It would be a disservice to call Wounds anything short of an accomplishment. More than once I found myself physically reacting to the stories. Sometimes it was letting my jaw drop in horror, but more impactful still were the moments where I felt the pang of something poignant stirring in the offal. The book operates in the realms of viscera and gore a little more than I am typically comfortable, but the moments in it range from horrifying to lovely with such great effect that I couldn't help but be impressed.If you've got the stomach to wade through the blood and guts, you'll be rewarded.
    more
  • Spencer
    January 1, 1970
    Nathan Ballingrud’s Wounds has instantly become one of my favourite short story collections, I loved his previous collection North American Lake Monsters but his writing has improved and evolved even more into something truly amazing. Each story can be read and appreciated alone but brought together they form a bloody patchwork depicting the fiendish things that creep out of the cracks of hell. The stories are not just creepy but also emotionally affecting as love and loss also thematically conn Nathan Ballingrud’s Wounds has instantly become one of my favourite short story collections, I loved his previous collection North American Lake Monsters but his writing has improved and evolved even more into something truly amazing. Each story can be read and appreciated alone but brought together they form a bloody patchwork depicting the fiendish things that creep out of the cracks of hell. The stories are not just creepy but also emotionally affecting as love and loss also thematically connect these stories together.I loved everything about this book; my only complaint is that I wanted it to be longer as I didn’t want it to end!
    more
  • Hayden
    January 1, 1970
    I liked and enjoyed "North American Lake Monsters" but I really loved "Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell." It's weird fiction of the highest order, with a fun (albeit disturbing), interwoven mythology regarding the environs and inhabitants of Hell. I most sincerely hope it's not the last go 'round for the Surgeons, Wagoneers, Carrion Angels, and The Order of the Black Iron. "The Butcher's Table" is particularly fantastic. Highly recommended.
    more
  • Donna McPherson
    January 1, 1970
    SIBA 2018 Advance Reading CopyI made it into the story about 5 pages. The vocabulary is what I would expect of a 9 year old army private who enjoys burping the alphabet and farting for music. What makes me sad, though, is that with a thesaurus and heavy editing this could be a really good story. I just can't get past the vulgarity of it. Not my genre.
    more
  • Steven Dines
    January 1, 1970
    All six stories are worth your time, but 'The Butcher's Table', a previously unpublished novella, is one of the most astounding pieces of dark fiction I have ever read. Highly recommended.
  • E.
    January 1, 1970
    A few (two, that is) stories were good the rest just annoyed or left no impression.
  • Tommy
    January 1, 1970
    Intensely good. It's rare to find something that disquiets me enough to take a break, like a couple of these stories did.It also made me tell my cat to stop staring at me.
  • Nick Cato
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic collection highlighted by a wild new novella. Full review 5/6/19 at thehorrorfictionreview.blogspot.com.
  • Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    Nathan Ballingrud is an author with his finger on the pulse of the American people, but be careful because he’s about to rip out your veins. His newest collection follows on the heels of his Shirley Jackson Award winning debut collection and doesn’t disappoint. Included in this volume is the standout novella THE VISIBLE FILTH, about to be released as a feature film. It’s about a bad night gone worse and at the end of a downward spiral into insanity lies an ending that leaves the reader stunned a Nathan Ballingrud is an author with his finger on the pulse of the American people, but be careful because he’s about to rip out your veins. His newest collection follows on the heels of his Shirley Jackson Award winning debut collection and doesn’t disappoint. Included in this volume is the standout novella THE VISIBLE FILTH, about to be released as a feature film. It’s about a bad night gone worse and at the end of a downward spiral into insanity lies an ending that leaves the reader stunned and feeling in desperate need of a shower and perhaps a prayer.For my full review of THE VISIBLE FILTH, check here: https://miskatonicreview.wordpress.co...EDIT: I’ve finished the whole collection now, and wow, so much fun. I’ve never read anything like it, and love how the stories interconnect and even wraparound.
    more
Write a review