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Somewhere Beneath Those Waves

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  598 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Monette’s diverse collection delves deeply into the mythic and reaches far beyond everyday reality. Readers cannot resist journeying with her into realms—dangerously dark or illuminatingly revelatory—they could never imagine without her as their guide. From ghost stories in the tradition of M. R. James to darkly poetic tales to moving fictional examinations of the most bas ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published November 21st 2011 by Prime Books (first published November 13th 2011)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Mir
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I ordered this because I thought there were further Kyle Murchison Booth stories included. In fact, there is only one, "The World Without Sleep." I see why that wasn't published in The Bone Key, as it is far more fantastical than the other Booth stories.

I was a little disappointed that there weren't more stories with Booth, but other than that I enjoyed the volume and thought most of the stories were good. I few, if one wished to quibble, seemed more thought pieces than stories, and a few were m
...more
Angela
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I am noticing about reviews for this book is that everyone is coming away with a different experience. For some, these are stories of horrors, nightmares and supernatural dreamscapes. Though I can see those elements present in many of the stories, Somewhere Beneath Those Waves is, for me, a collection of love stories.

They are not always straightforward, and they do not always have happy endings. There is darkness, there is tragedy, but above all there are glimmers of hope…often
...more
Wealhtheow
A frustrating collection of sf/f, with a few non-fantastic stories as well. Some are too heavy-handed, many are too short to do their ideas justice, and all too often Monette leans on technique instead of letting her (quite interesting!) worlds and characters speak for themselves. Still, there are enough ideas in here to fuel dozens of novels, so it's worth reading.

Draco Campestris--A taxonomist categorizes the dragon species contained in a universe-spanning museum, all the while hearing rumors
...more
Kate O'Hanlon
I didn't really start reading short stories until about a year and a half ago and Sarah Monette is one of the writers who prompted me to take the genre seriously.

There is so much to love in this collection. Monette has such a strange and wonderful imagination and is as skilled in crafting slow, poignant characters studies about grief like 'Letter from a Teddy Bear on Veterans' Day' and 'Absent from Felicity' as she is telling more action packed, plotty, stories like 'A Night in Electric Squidlan
...more
Althea Ann
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a fan of Sarah Monette. At this point, I’ve read all her books save one – which I’ve got on the way to me right now. Her aesthetic resonates with me strongly.

‘Draco Campestris’ – A mood piece describing a museum which displays the bones of dragons. Full of lovely and disturbing details.

‘Queen of Swords’ - A king’s new bride is haunted by the ghosts of his previous wives.

‘Letter from a Teddy Bear on Veterans Day’ – A story about mourning a brother who was lost in Vietnam, and how that death
...more
April Steenburgh
"On the landing, the roses of the Queen of Elfland, as clamorous as trumpets, continued to shout their glory to the uncomprehending house." ('Sarah Monette, Somewhere Beneath Those Waves, pg 185)

Like the Queen of Elfland's roses, the stories contained in 'Somewhere Beneath Those Waves' will sing out their glory long after the reader had turned the final page. Contained within are captive figureheads and selkies, dragons and dreams and all the hopes and nightmares caught in between. The stories w
...more
Nighteye
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: otto
This anthology raises a lot of questions and I've got to go true some of the stories again and again to find the sometimes hidden meanings I think of. Like it. Some of these stories are deep and cuts you when reading them. Sarah have a way to capture feelings very well. I'm not a fan of ghost stories and in here there is a lot but some where good.
My favorites was Three letters from the queen of Elflands (a hard read), Katabasis: The septic train, Amante Dorée (cut me hard), The watcher in the c
...more
April
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this lovely book by Sarah Monette because I've read her Doctrine of Labyrinth series as well as A Companion to Wolves (with Elizabeth Bear.) She has a very lyrical style without getting too bogged down in the description. And she loves to write about queer characters. Her characters also tend to have an Otherness to them that I can identify with.

This collection grows in strength as it continues. One of the things that I disliked about the stories is that Monette's heroes and heroine
...more
Ruediger Landmann
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ruediger by: Laura Bailey
Shelves: read-2012
This is an eclectic and intriguing collection of short stories, almost all of them speculative fiction of one kind or another. Like most anthologies, I found it to be a mixed bag in terms of what appealed to me, but I'll call out a few stories here that I particularly enjoyed:

"Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland" and "Katabasis: Seraphic Trains", although wildly different stories both carried incredible emotional punch. The former is, in my opinion, Faerie done right: wild and seductive. The
...more
Amanda
Maybe Kij Johnson's At the Mouth of the River of Bees has ruined subsequent short story collections for me; maybe I didn't love Monette's writing. In either case I think a lot of readers would love this. Horror, fantasy, poetry, gay characters, trans characters, strong characters, dragons, ghosts, angels, mermaids, soldiers, nightmares and nothing felt repetitive. If this sounds like your cup of tea, give this a try asap. ...more
Delaney
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Sarah Monette's lyric prose, and her characterizations are diverse and wonderful. Definitely didn't expect these to be as creepy as they were, but man, "The Watcher in the Corners" got me. (It didn't help that RIGHT after I finished reading that story, I noticed that when I pull the nightlight out of the socket in my bathroom I've been scratching the wall, and I SWEAR THE SCRATCHES SPELL "MOVE" HOW CREEPY IS THAT SHIT.) Also, while Sidhe stories aren't my favorite, these weren't horrible, ...more
Nicole
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A compilation of short stories, well thought out, and exquisitely written. Each story will draw you in and leave you feeling breathless. They are magical, thought provoking stories ranging on many varied topics. The darker stories, which I usually shy away from, always had a yearning for hope and goodness. There was always a glimmering light, to leady you out, again. The relieved, happy feeling you experience after you've just woken from a bad dream, that was my experience with many of these sto ...more
Dawn
I am not an existing fan of this authors but I saw the beautiful cover and I'm always happy to read a collection of short stories, especially as an introduction to a new author.

This collection was a mixed bag for me. Some of the stories were boring and if I had rated them on their own I would have rated them 2 star but some of the stories were so good I wished they had a collection of their own and I could read more about the characters and worlds.
It was an enjoyable read, though I am not sure i
...more
Katie M.
I like Sarah Monette, and she's a totally competent author, but something about these stories just seemed a little - I don't know, conventional? - for a writer who is described in the introduction as "a poet of the awkward and the uncertain, exalter of the outcast, the outre, and the downright weird." Really? In a world where Rikki Ducornet exists, I'm not sure how most of these stories could pass as anything more than tame. But none of them were bad, and a few of them were even quite good. It w ...more
Jennifer Hernandez
I couldn't finish this book. I tried, I really did. I don't think it has anything to do with her writing, I think I was just expecting something else. I didn't like how some of the more interesting stories ended quickly with hardly any explanation and others that weren't my cup of tea were more drawn out. ...more
Hilary
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book because I loved (loved loved) The Goblin Emperor, and I like short stories. I found it to be a very diverse, uneven but engaging collection, with some truly wonderful stories more than making up for the ones I didn't like. I also enjoyed the author's notes on each story in the back.


Favorites:

"A Light in Troy" - A brief story of hope and human communion after losing everything, beautifully written. I loved this.

"Katabasis: Seraphic Trains" - A story about poets, and beyond that
...more
Bec
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This little collection illustrates everything I love about Sarah Monette. She has the rare gift of being able to write horrifying, poignant, and haunting stories that don't feel gaudy or trite. Although none of her tales feature the gratuitous gore that tends to come with horror stories, the flashes of brutality she intersperses with lyrical storytelling are all the more compelling because of their rarity.

In contrast to the reviewer below who doesn't like the choices made by some of the 'heroes
...more
𝒦𝒾𝓇𝓈𝓉𝓎𝓃 𝒰𝓇𝒷𝒶𝓃
I really enjoyed the vast majority of this collection. Having been introduced to short story collections back in college, I still find myself gravitating to these short adventures . They're perfect for someone like me who can sit down and read a 500 page novel in a night, but who also often finds her mind wandering amidst some words. All of that being said, some of these fell short for me particularly those opening the collection. I hung in there and am glad I did.
My favorite by far was "The Wor
...more
Julia
I cried while reading “Letter from a Teddy Bear on Veteran’s Day” while answering phones during the public radio fund drive, with Alan Chartock less than 10 feet away, begging people to call and with phones ringing. There are twenty five short stories, novellas, some very short stories, prose poems and poems in this very, very good collection. One, “The World Without Sleep” has Kyle Murchison Boothe from the author’s The Bone Key: The Necromantic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth. “A Night in El ...more
M—
I've got to obtain a copy of this. Some of the stories I loved more than others, but there wasn't a bad one in the lot and that's damned rare for me with story collections.

Assume spoiler in my comments of the individual stories.

Draco campestris
Queen of Swords
Letter from a Teddy Bear on Veterans' Day
Under the Beansidhe's Pillow (click to read)
The Watcher in the Corners
The Half-Sister
Ashes, Ashes
Sidhe Tigers
A Light in Troy (selected for Best New Romantic Fantasy 2006)
Amante Dorée
Somewhere Beneath
...more
D
Reread this and realised some of the stories aren't as strong as I thought. Stories are sometimes too plotty for a short story but there's no need to flesh them out into a novel. Tanith Lee writes novellas, but I guess they're not really in style anymore? Anyway what happens is sometimes things feel rushed.

"Impostors" had a woman screaming abuse at a male protag who is black. Yes, it was framed as a bad thing, but there's probably no need to spell the N word out. It's a word people who are not
...more
Orrin Grey
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big, big fan of Sarah Monette, especially her ghost stories. The Bone Key is one of my all-time favorite books. But Monette isn't principally a ghost story writer. She's done a number of fantasy novels, and a host of sci-fi and fantasy short stories. Of those, I've not yet read the novels, but the short stories are mostly collected here, including one rather unusual Kyle Murchison Booth story. I'd read probably a little over half of these before, but it's nice to have them all collected to ...more
Miss Susan
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this one. I read it in bits and pieces at the bookstore so I haven't the memory or the book handy to give a detailed review but I liked it very much overall. The longer stories were much better than the short ones, there were a couple where I figured she must have had a word count limit because they would have been better expanded. I really liked the Jamie and Mick stories, I hope she writes a collection for them someday. 'Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland', 'Katabasis: Sera ...more
Marissa
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was excited to find this book at the library because I really enjoyed her long fiction (such as The Mirador and Virtu), and fans of those books won't be disappointed. The stories in Somewhere Beneath those Waves have the same imaginative, alternative quality that made her novels so enjoyable, and the characters are absolutely fabulous. Where else are you going to find transgender courtesans, bisexual buddy cops, selkies, soldiers, and all of the other weird and wonderful individuals left out o ...more
Katherine
I went on a spree of requesting a bunch of this author's books from the library because I decided that The Goblin Emperor is my favorite book, but my overall conclusion is that the choice to write under a different name was a good one, because the work does feel different. Anyway, these short stories are fun to read because it's pushing past the usual heteronormative setups, so that's cool, but I still like the fantasy (and linear) ones better than the more experimental or horror-based stories. ...more
Andrew Neal
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author mentions that some of these stories are closer to novels, and others are closer to poetry. Me, I didn't go for the super-short leaning-toward poetry ones, but the longer short stories at the end of the book were fantastic. The two stories which featured two buddy-cop members of the BPI (kind of like the FBI, but paranormal, or a bit like the BPRD if you read Hellboy, but way less militant) were great, and there were two or three more I really liked as well. I'm going to try to read mo ...more
Susan
Liked the few stories I read - overdue library book my daughter had out so didn't have time to read the entire thing - nor did I really want to. I can't read an entire collection of short stories, one after another like candies in a box, anymore than I can sit through a double feature. I need time to sit with each story. I generally go back and visit again with most short story collections and a good deal of the time just go out and buy them so I can read them at my own pace, dipping in here and ...more
Candice
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a quote on the front of this book saying "Sarah Monette writes like a dream" and I have to say I agree. This collection of short stories is exactly what I want in a collection of short stories. Within a few sentences an entire world is established, a fantastic world that I want to know more about. There is magic, and strange creatures and creatures that seem normal at first, then you realize they are stranger than you can imagine. Absolutely wonderful.
My only complaint is that most of t
...more
Claudia
Though fairly inconsistent in terms of personal enjoyment, the book as a whole was a well-written, inventive, ultimately enjoyable read. And when the stories were good, man, were they ever good. I don't think this will be the last thing I read of Monette's.

Rankings of all the stories averaged out to 6/10, which sounds about right. Favourite was by far "The World Without Sleep", with "Katabasis: Seraphic Trains", "The Seance at Chisholm End", and "Imposters" trailing closely behind. My least favo
...more
Lindsey
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror
I've never been interested in reading short stories until I discovered Sarah Monette. Her writing is evocative, lyrical and beautifully crafted, and her characters very real and compelling, even those developed within the short span of the stories in this collection. My only complaint is that I want to know more about the various people in the stories and the worlds they inhabit. I hope Sarah might consider developing many of these stories into full novels. ...more
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My pseudonym is Katherine Addison. Katherine reviews nonfiction. Sarah reviews fiction. Fair warning: I read very little fiction these days.

I was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, one of the secret cities of the Manhattan Project. I studied English and Classics in college, and have gone on to get my M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature. My first four novels were published by Ace Books. I h
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