Carly Holmes is a bewitching writer, and Figurehead is a book that’s as full of eeriness and enchantment as one could ever wish for. Originally published as a hardback collection by Tartarus Press in 2018, this republished volume by Parthian includes three brand new stories, as well as a very fetching cover in black, red, and white – three stark shades which intimate the beauty and horror, blood and high fantasy held within.
Indeed, it’s Figurehead‘s mix of fantasy and gothic elements which makes these stories so appealing, along with the author’s ability to meld in a convincing realism. From the first story, it’s clear that Holmes has earned her place in the year’s best horror anthologies and an enthusiastic endorsement from The British Fantasy Society.
Whether involving dogs or demons, ghosts or girls, there’s an underlying understanding of fairytale archetypes, which gives the book a nod towards the Brothers Grimm here, Angela Carter there, while in other places, Holmes proves herself a horror master. I especially enjoyed those stories in which the inanimate is brought to life – Russian dolls who mourn the loss of their sisters, or a ship’s figurehead who falls in love, with violent results.
Figurehead, Carly Holmes (Parthian)
Price: £10. Info: here
words MAB JONES
APPLICATIONS for spring term 22 are now Closed: If you’re 18-30, live in Wales, and want to get ahead in the creative and cultural industries, express your interest for autumn term.