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Quintessence of Dust

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  46 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Quintessence of Dust delivers a world where the Minotaur exists in modern society, drinks in bars and is scared of the dark. Where to lose memories and extract all the pain you’ve brought on others is easily achieved by pulling twine from your rectum. It is a world where the Devil is an old man digging a hole to Hell in his garden, and romance is nurtured by spearing an um ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published 2012 by Kuboa Press
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Peter Tieryas
May 25, 2013 Peter Tieryas rated it it was amazing
I am pretty much going to gush about this book. This is an incredibly visceral, intense, and provocative collection. Every story has a creative spin and take on traditional themes like identity, love, and transformation. Myths are contemporized, minotaurs are best friends, and someone is trying to build a hole to hell. What got me the most was how human every character felt and you really empathize with them, despite the odd circumstances they find themselves in. There are many disturbing moment ...more
Christopher Novas
Jan 29, 2013 Christopher Novas rated it it was amazing
One of the best short story collections I've ever read. Funny, heartbreaking, tender, and sad. Craig Wallwork is a genius within the short story format. Definitely deserves to be read by anyone who appreciates great short stories.
Nov 21, 2015 Rodney rated it it was amazing
I have read Wallwork once before with the horror collection Gory Hole. While I enjoyed that one, I am honestly pretty blown away by Quintessence of Dust. The stories will be with me for a long time, to be sure. Some were romantic, some were weird and disturbing (often with body parts being utilized for several things beside their intended functions), and others made me laugh while also stressing some important life lessons. This is no doubt one of the best collections I have had the pleasure of ...more
Paul Eckert
Jun 17, 2012 Paul Eckert rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while I read a novel or short story, and everything about it seems so perfect that I find myself wishing I had wrote it. Quintessence of Dust falls into this category.

The stories are like modern day fables that examine humanity through its various failures and fragile successes. Classic fairy tales and fables often had a one-note quality about them, either a cautionary tale, a metaphor for the human condition, or a humorous tale meant solely for entertainment. Each of Wallwork's
Simon West-Bulford
May 14, 2012 Simon West-Bulford rated it it was amazing
Shelves: author-friends
Well, what can I say about Quintessence of Dust?

I’ve read a selection of Craig’s short stories before and always enjoyed their fairy-tale quality and the imaginative concepts, so I knew I’d be in for a treat reading this collection. Each of the eleven stories are memorable in their own right, but for me, there are some that stand out as exceptional. Much to my personal shame, I have to admit that my favourite was ‘180 Degrees Shy of Heaven’. I say shame because, out of all the stories, this one
Caleb Ross

At times William Gay, at times Carlton Mellick III, but always, I’d say, he dodges what would traditionally be called Bizarro fiction by way of empathy for his characters. He’s Bizarro with heart…so, magical realist, I suppose. He’d fit in more with Amy Bender and Gabriel García Márquez than with Carlton Mellick III or even Bradley Sands, but is strong enough in the world of any to be welcomed by them.

Wallwork isn’t afraid to take a strange, even repulsive concept, and build a touching story ar
Nigel Bird
Jun 20, 2012 Nigel Bird rated it it was amazing

‘Quintessence of Dust’is a collection of huge variety which is linked by the author’s style and faint echoes of theme that bring some overlap within the diversity of subject matter.

You’ll find out about Minotaur and a new labyrinth, a magical wall of photographs, how demons can help win a woman’s heart, the consequences of having a small neck and about the digging of holes amongst other things, holes being one of those recurring themes in the book.

The concept behind each tale suggests to me that
Benoit Lelievre
May 14, 2013 Benoit Lelievre rated it really liked it
That was different. A Craig Wallwork is what you obtain when you cross a Chuck Palahniuk and an old school Scandinavian storyteller. Stories are set in reality and not. They are emotional as well as fantastic. My two favorites were Night Holds a Scythe, where a father and daughters is trying to escape the terrible epidemic of sleep-death ravaging America and the story where a man gets his wish for a hornier wife. Honorable mention to Railway Architecture who shines by its form more than by its c ...more
Michael Gonzalez
May 17, 2012 Michael Gonzalez rated it it was amazing
You know writing is singular and fantastic when you have to use the author's name to describe the work. This collection is "Wallworkian". Yeah, I said it. Nobody else could write these stories. Nobody else would dare to. You're stepping unfiltered into a very active imagination.

One of my favorite things in art is the concept of Happy Melancholy - a sweet sadness, the ray of hope while the world is irredeemably falling apart. These stories are forged from Happy Melancholy. Almost every tale ends
Matthew Vaughn
Apr 22, 2012 Matthew Vaughn rated it it was amazing
I’ve known of Craig Wallwork for quite awhile. We both frequent The Velvet forums, though him more so than me. A lot like the other writers on The Velvet his work was one that I always meant to check out. His name has sat on that ever growing list of people I want to read. With the publication of Warmed and Bound, an anthology from The Velvet, that finally changed. After reading Craig’s story, Bruised Flesh, I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long to check his work out. Coincidentally, righ ...more
Edward Rathke
Oct 02, 2012 Edward Rathke rated it it was amazing
The stories in Quintessence of Dust create a world where Minotaur exist, drink too much, get in fights, and are afraid of the dark. But, more than that, the story “Men of Blood” is a profound meditation on friendship and the way that people grow together and then grow apart. It’s the kind of story where a man punching a Minotaur in the face can make you cry rather than be an act of heroism or a joke. He creates worlds where you can deliver a baby, kill a demon with an umbrella, and have your fir ...more
Josh Karaczewski
Apr 29, 2013 Josh Karaczewski rated it really liked it
Strange and affecting, powerful and funny, sweet and dirty, sacred and profane, Wallwork's writing does something that I love, which is take ideas that sound like they were conceived while very drunk ("Dude, wouldn't be awesome if my best mate was a minotaur?" or "What would happen if our train was attacked by demons?"), and explore them with skill and creative intelligence.

Favorite stories include:
Night Holds a Scythe - an original and moving take on "the end of the world by outbreak" story.
Apr 25, 2012 Edward rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
What a fun and entertaining read. Craig Wallwork is a highly skilled writer with quite the imagination. There are some truly bizarre stories in this collection. Some of my favorites include a story called Anal Twine, which I'll just let you see what that's about on your own. Another story is about a man and his best friend who just happens to be a Minotaur. And yet another that is about a girl who befriends a talking camel, only to make a life changing decision. All of the stories are entertaini ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Elyse rated it really liked it
The variety of these 'Out-of-the-box' short stories are unorthodox. (creative authorship writing).

An abrasive edge-
Adulterous in nature - (abstract lascivious)

My favorite story? hm??? I think it was the 'twine' story. (but they were all oddly enduring).

Craig Wallwork is one heck of a talented nutcase! lol
May 12, 2012 Bookedpodcast rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Hear our complete review here:
Oct 29, 2014 Luke rated it really liked it
Great mix of horror, transgressive, the surreal and the absurd. It also seems Wallwork either does a great job of researching his stories or has some kind of background as an EMT or something because these stories contain an impressive amount of medical detail. My favorites were 'Anal Twine', 'Men of Blood' and 'The Hole'.
Jesse Sublett
Jul 22, 2012 Jesse Sublett rated it liked it
Wow, something is definitely going on here, and I don't know what, except for good writing. It's a collection of stories, some of them connected through themes and motifs, some not. First story will remind many of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a little. A father and his four year old daughter have stolen a plane, flying desperately into the sun, apparently trying to outrun an epidemic that's already wiped out a good portion of the human race. Sleep means death, so narcoleptics died first, and ...more
Susan Rose
This is a really interesting and diverse short story collection, I really liked the fact that these were short even for short stories and read a few inbetween chapters of other books I've been reading.

I would recommend this book to everyone, but particualrly people who like horror, sci fi or dystopian fiction.
Chris Rhatigan
Feb 10, 2013 Chris Rhatigan rated it it was amazing
Ridiculously good short stories. Each character has a complex, but never boring, back story. Some stories are magical realism; others are more along the lines of the modern horror of James Everington or Iain Rowan. But every one is a gem told by a writer with an engaging voice.
Livius Nedin
May 13, 2012 Livius Nedin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Unique and entertaining, Wallwork is one to keep an eye out for. Check out a full review on my podcast
May 12, 2012 Robb rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I reviewed this book on my podcast, listen to the episode here:
Alice Koo
Jun 03, 2013 Alice Koo rated it really liked it
Very creative stories!
E. H.
Dec 05, 2013 E. H. marked it as to-read
I received this book through firstreads here on goodreads. I'm a bit disappointed with this book - I spent a little while on this book and found that it wasn't really my kind of thing. I think the description set my hopes up too high. I'm sure I will come back to it at some point, though...
Chris rated it it was amazing
Feb 26, 2016
Nobody rated it really liked it
Sep 24, 2015
Steven Mostyn
Steven Mostyn marked it as to-read
Sep 09, 2015
Christian Astrup
Christian Astrup marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2015
Eric rated it liked it
Jul 06, 2015
Leanna Kowallis
Leanna Kowallis marked it as to-read
Jun 19, 2015
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Craig Wallwork was born in Salford, Manchester, England. After leaving school he attended Art College before becoming a film-maker and then a full time editor.

He is the twice Pushcart nominated writer of over 40 short stories, and the author of the books To Die Upon a Kiss, The Sound of Loneliness, Quintessence of Dust and Gory Hole.
More about Craig Wallwork...

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