A Lovely and Terrible Thing by Chris Womersley [6/10]

Dislocating ghostliness pervades the decade’s worth of seventeen previously published short stories, plus three new ones, in “A Lovely and Terrible Thing,” from talented Melbourne author Chris Womersley. Menacing tales mix with quirky fantastical ones. Children feature often, as do damaged adults, and displaced revenge recurs. The author’s style is precise yet fulsome, laced with character-defining acerbic reflections. The reader quickly becomes accustomed to bracing for shocking plot twists. I was surprised how homogenous this collection is, or perhaps a better descriptor is unified, and my unsettled reactions rarely climbed to gasps of admiration, but I devoured Womersley’s tales with enjoyment.

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