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Beautiful Sorrows

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There is a place where sorrows pile up like snow and rest in your hair like cherry blossoms. Boys have wings, monsters fall in love, women fade into nothingness, and the bones of small children snap like twigs. Darkness will surely devour you—but it will be exquisitely lovely while doing so.

Mercedes M. Yardley’s Beautiful Sorrows is an ephemeral collection encompassing twenty-seven short tales full of devastation, death, longing, and the shining ribbon of hope that binds them all together.

Praise for Beautiful Sorrows

"Beautiful Sorrows... delicate prose with devastating impact. Mercedes Yardley is a female Joe Hill, and I fear her 'Broken' will haunt me to my grave." —F. Paul Wilson

"Mercedes M. Yardley has the Right Stuff. She demonstrates that in her wonderful collection of short stories: Beautiful Sorrows. Each story is a different kind of gem, the bagful priceless." —Gene O'Neill

169 pages, Paperback

First published October 15, 2012

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About the author

Mercedes M. Yardley

82 books284 followers
Mercedes M. Yardley is a whimsical dark fantasist who wears poisonous flowers in her hair. She is the author of Beautiful Sorrows, the Stabby Award-winning Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Pretty Little Dead Girls, and Nameless. She won the prestigious Bram Stoker Award for her story Little Dead Red and was a Bram Stoker Award nominee for her short story “Loving You Darkly.” Mercedes is editor of the dark fiction anthology Arterial Bloom. You can find her at mercedesmyardley.com.

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5 stars
113 (55%)
4 stars
54 (26%)
3 stars
30 (14%)
2 stars
6 (2%)
1 star
2 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews
Profile Image for Joshua.
55 reviews7 followers
January 16, 2013
I don't think I have ever read a book with a more appropriate name. During my entire journey through these pages I felt a little sad inside. The stories collected here have something in them that touches a place inside of you in a strange, yet familiar way. They have a way of leaving you with tears threatening and a smile at the corner of your lips. I also quite liked the little chalk drawings for each story and the origin ideas talked about at the end.

I truly wish to thank Mrs. Yardley for writing these wonderful stories, and I hope to see more from her in the future.
Profile Image for Zakk Madness.
239 reviews20 followers
June 5, 2014
"I'll kill him one day, I'll take that axe and swipe at his head when he isn't looking. Or even when he is. Either way"

Beautiful sorrows is 27 little deaths, 27 moments of emotion and whimsical fancy bowed up in one pretty little package. Each of these tales is connected to a heartstring and each pulls in slightly different angle, with varying degrees of force.

As you traipse through this difficult and magnificent landscape, I guarantee that you learn something about yourself, maybe just a little thing. Maybe something grander. Something you weren't aware of that makes you smile, makes you feel, makes you think, makes you hurt, makes you hurt, makes you hurt.

Just know going in that this collection is like screaming on a roller coaster. It's meandering through the fun house. It's the spectacle of walking through the front gate and It's walking away after the lights have gone out, a red balloon tied to your wrist. There are worlds going on in between the bindings and they are all beautiful, in their own way.

"These, he told his daughter, these are the quiet places where your body grows."

The stories that resonate with me are:

Black Mary*
The Boy Who Hangs the Stars
The Quiet Place Where Your Body Grows
Pixies Don't Get Names
& Big Man Ben

*I'm not ashamed to say that Black Mary & The Quiet Place brought me to tears.

Z-Dubbs is a big dumb animal,
The Mouths of Madness Podcastshow
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Profile Image for Damien Angelica Walters.
Author 109 books554 followers
October 1, 2012
Lyrical, poetic, dark, and heartbreaking. Mercedes writes like an angel with a dagger hidden behind her back. I cannot recommend this enough.
Profile Image for Lee Thompson.
Author 27 books179 followers
December 19, 2012
If I could write half as well as Mercedes Yardley I'd be rich and in love with myself.
Profile Image for Eric Guignard.
Author 140 books489 followers
November 8, 2012
REVIEWED: Beautiful Sorrows
WRITTEN BY: Mercedes M. Yardley
PUBLISHED: September, 2012

The title of this collection of short stories really sums up the emotional voice of the author and her writing; beautiful and filled with sorrow. There is happiness, too, a sense of joy in her writing, even in the tales that speak of darkest tragedy. There is pride, and intrigue, and horror as well, but beauty and sorrow seem to play out the most, like yin & yang qualities balancing off each other. The stories range in length from merely a few sentences up to the low-side of a novelette, but each is thoughtful and well-written, with a whimsical fairy-tale quality tying them together. Be sure to read the introduction as well, by P. Gardner Goldsmith, perhaps one of the most touching and astute as I've ever come across.

Five out of Five stars
Profile Image for Rena Mason.
Author 43 books43 followers
September 3, 2013
Whimsical horror it is! The author describes her work the best. Nothing can be more heartbreaking than the stories of children told in the voice of children, and this author does it without gore or extreme horror, (which I'll admit, I wouldn't have read on if it were anything like that.) The stories were "whimsical" for the most part, some made me smile, others chilled me to the bone. After recently reading Neil Gaiman's, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, (which I enjoyed,) this collection of stories is a nice follow-up. Not exact mind you, this author definitely has her own style and voice. Loved this collection and look forward to reading more of this author's work.
Profile Image for Kevin Lucia.
Author 83 books287 followers
April 16, 2013
Imagine an entire book like Joe Hill's short story POP ART and you'd have BEAUTIFUL SORROWS. It's sublime, quirky, off-beat, darkly humorous...but not overly depressing or nihilistic. There's soul here, a strong, pumping heart, boasting just enough melancholia to remind us why life is so precious and beautiful, therefore, its title - BEAUTIFUL SORROWS - is wonderfully apt.
Profile Image for Claudia.
159 reviews12 followers
November 9, 2012
One has to be an amazing writer to pull off flash fiction, in my opinion. Mercedes Yardley does it with ease. A single page of her prose has brought tears to my eyes. My only disappointment in this fabulous book is that it ended and I wanted it to go on and on. Yardley's characters are full and fleshy and yet stripped to the bone and almost invisible to the eye. As ethereal as they might appear, they stay with you, just at the edge of your vision. Even the one who disappears completely in her story, stayed with me for days. I have felt like I was fading away and no one was noticing, so this story spoke to me like it was coming from my own head and heart.

I often ask my students what supernatural ability they would want to have, given the opportunity. I used to think it would be the ability to fly--to have wings. Having read this book, I think I would rather have the ability to be aware of my surroundings and the people who touch my life. To be conscious of the shadows and nearly ghost people that are fading, because no one notices them until they are gone. We miss too much.

It has been noted that Mercedes Yardley writes horror. I believe that the horror she writes is not the supernatural kind, but rather, humanity gone empty kind. Mixed in with the horror tales are fantasy stories that are pure magic; boys who have wings and girls who have sharks for pets. I was enchanted by every story in this collection. This book will stay close to me, because some days I might need to reread a story or too, just to remind myself that some of my experiences really are shared by a woman I have never met, but who knows my heart in ways I have yet to discover.
Profile Image for Stephanie M. Wytovich.
Author 68 books228 followers
October 12, 2013
Beautiful Sorrows is a bloody dandelion floating through the crisp autumn air, fueled by the whispers of little children. It’s a little bit of winter with a hint of twilight, and yet at the same time it shines with the beauty of spring and fresh orchids. Reading this collection was like falling into a magical realm, one that I didn’t want to step out of, or ever leave. Yardley’s characters are stunning. Some of them have wings, a few dance with the stars, and a couple even wield axes and trump through their pages with marvelous dreams and well-kept secrets. Each tale is as enchanting as the last, and readers will fall in love, trip into sadness, and plummet into the dark imagination of a writer whose prose rolls off the tip of your tongue like silk-covered spikes.
Profile Image for David.
353 reviews
September 16, 2014
This collection of stories is truly amazing! It's part humor, sorrow, sarcasm and poetry. I had never read any work by Mercedes Yardley before and had no idea what to expect. I was very happy I gave it a read and found it a really enjoyable book. It's hard to describe the stories but if you like the a bit of horror, sorrow sarcasm and poetry then believe me it's well worth the time to read it. It will make you grin, feel for the characters, or put you in a place of deep thought. If you read this book and it doesn't affect you then you better check your pulse. I'm now a fan of Mercedes' work and very much look forward to her next book.
Profile Image for One Pushy Fox.
239 reviews20 followers
April 2, 2013
Poignant and fantastical vignettes leaving you wondering, "What happens next..."

While I'm a true lover of novels, there's a part of me that loves a good collection of short stories.  There's something so liberating about their brevity that allows authors and readers alike to try on new subjects like so many sweaters on a cool winter day.  And it was in just such an environment, a cold winter break up in Michigan, that I read Ms. Yardley's darkly compelling series of stories.

Ensconced in my winter vacation, I had the chance to travel to so many different worlds via Ms. Yardley's fantastic, lyrical prose.  Her topics, ranging from the sweetly fantastical The Boy Who Hangs The Stars to the gut-wrenchingly dark, Black Mary, we woven together seamlessly in a beautiful skein of images.  I still find myself pondering the stories, like Luna e Volk (a sad and lovely take on werewolves) and wondering what they would evolve into if they had been coaxed into full length novels.  But in the end, I find that I'm happy with the way Ms. Yardley tied up all her stories, even those secured loosely.  They're lovely, like poetry, and they're true gems just as they are.

Bottom Line
The aptly named Beautiful Sorrows is a gorgeous read from beginning to end.  Darkly chilling and then macabrely funny in just the right places, more fantastical than truly horror, it's quite a quick read.  This collection is guaranteed to having you turning the pages swiftly and leave you wondering about what happened next for days.
Profile Image for Ctgt.
1,379 reviews82 followers
March 3, 2016
A tall, thin thing, a modern day Spring-Heeled Jack. His voice, when he spoke, was all lies and promises, sexy and deep, chartreuse and nuance and Lily of the Valley

Whimsical, horrific, fascinating, heartbreaking...what more could you ask for in a collection. You know how there are authors who are able to hit you in just the right spot? Or who are able to look at things from a different perspective....they hold a lens up and then tilt it, just so, and things look askew? That's what Yardley did for me with this collection.

A few highlights for me

Broken-two brutal lines

Black Mary-horrible subject matter made worse when I read what the author was going through in her personal life at the time.

The Boy Who Hangs The Stars-a girl meets a boy with holes in his hands

Untied-a boy(and tie) meets girl story unlike any you've ever read.

Music To Jump By-It was like watching his soul slip away, and not being able to do anything about it. A soul is a soft, indefinable thing, but the feeling of it sliding through your fingertips is unmistakable.

Stars-heartbreaking story of a man and a star.

She Called Him Sky-another touching boy meets girl story She took the boy home, gave him a bath, and gave him a name. She called him Sky because he always looked so sad, like the stars look sad. She thought of how the moon was always alone, never invited to tea, an eerily beautiful voyeur. Sky was just the right name.

Great collection, highly recommended.

Profile Image for Donna.
7 reviews
March 13, 2015
This collection was my first exposure to the writings of Mercedes Yardley but certainly not the last. A very impressive collection with beautiful, haunting prose. Highly recommended.
I have individually rated each story. My ratings are based on my own personal preference since each story was certainly well-written.
Broken *****
Black Mary *****
Flat, Flat World ***
Extraordinary Beast ****
The Boy Who Hangs the Stars *****
Untied ****
The Container of Sorrows *****
A Place of Beauty *****
Music to Jump By ****
Axes ****
The Quiet Place Where Your Body Grows *****
Show Your Bones ****
The ABCs of Murder *****
A Place Shielded from Horrors ****
Crosswise Cosmos Sabotage *****
Life ****
Luna e Volk *****
Stars *****
Wings *****
Sweet, Sweet Tonja T ****
Blossom Bones *****
Edibility ***
Heartless *****
Pixies Don't Get Names ****
Ava ****
She Called Him Sky *****
Big Man Ben *****
Profile Image for Bandit.
4,393 reviews439 followers
February 25, 2016
This book came with a foreword so adoring, almost fawning, almost impossible to live up to and yet it did. Yardley's tales are exactly as lovely as the reader was expected to believe they would be. Ranging from flash fiction to longer entries, this collection reads like fairy tales for adults, strange, sad and yes, undeniably beautiful. They aren't perfect, there is a certain repetitiveness at work, the quality is uneven, but that aside, this book emphatically testifies to Yardley's unquestionable and considerable talent not just as a wordsmith, but also as master crafts(wo)man (is this suppose to be a gender nonspecific word like actor) of dreamlike ephemeral moods. Perfectly named and very much worth a read. Recommended.
Profile Image for Rick Powell.
Author 60 books20 followers
August 14, 2014
Every once and a while, a book comes my way and it just hits me with shock and awe. I have been a fan of the horror genre all my life but there are some authors that transcend any genre and can transform the mundane life into something spiritual and fascinating. A case in point can be Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont and Shirley Jackson. The stories in this book can go from horrifying to romanticism and everything magical in between and Ms.Yardley has a way of taking the most simple of words and yet say so much. The first story, "Broken", says more in the 2 sentences that it is compiled of than the nightmares or 100 books combined. This author has the talent that dreams are made of.
Profile Image for Laura.
101 reviews
November 6, 2012
I read this because I actually know the author! She is a lovely person, but I wasn't so sure I wanted to read horror stories. It's not something I usually read. I'm so glad I got it. This collection of short stories is amazing. Mercedes writes so vibrantly and beautifully. There is darkness, but there is also beauty. Each story is different. Some are quite funny, some lyrical, some hopeful. Some will give you nightmares. It's still worth the read.
Profile Image for June Sorensen.
1 review1 follower
December 5, 2012
I could NOT put this book down! It's is one of the best anthologies I've read in a long while. It's filled with whimsy and creepiness all wrapped up into a bit of horror. My favorite story is about Death and his ex-roommate. You'll have to read more to see. ;)

I highly recommend it. You won't be able to stop turning the pages.
Profile Image for Brett.
Author 63 books54 followers
October 1, 2012
Mercedes M. Yardley fills Beautiful Sorrows with whimsy, magic, and oh so much emotion that her stories fly off the page like a lovesick pixie. I loved Beautiful Sorrows, and wholeheartedly recommend it.
Profile Image for Steve Bouchard.
31 reviews2 followers
August 31, 2013
"Beautiful Sorrows" served as a great source of (grown-up) bedtime stories for several days. It's full of solid, straight-forward writing, with thought-provoking touches of weird woven in to make the stories sparkle, and make the reader think. Sometimes subtle, sometimes disturbing, each story should be approached with a "just go with it" attitude as the reader steps into the middle of a scene--because there is always a reason for the strangeness.

This collection is probably not for those who have trouble suspending their disbelief--it's the magical touches that carry these stories past the surface. In short, it's an absolutely wonderful collection, and too difficult to pick favorites. (But the few words in the opening story, "Broken," have haunted me since I first read them.) I'll be sure to look out for more from Mercedes Yardley.

And as it's coming from a small press, I have to comment that the presentation of the physical book is top notch. The cover-art is very cool, and the inside illustrations are a nice touch, tying it all together. I was very happy to see story-notes, too--story collections just seem lacking without them.
299 reviews14 followers
May 26, 2014
For the best imaginable review of this book, I refer you to the exceptional Introduction by P. Gardner Goldsmith at the beginning of this book. I could not come close to his reflections on this collection of all these works by Ms Yardley.
What I can do is offer heartfelt and awestruck praise for this brilliant, beautiful,gruesome and grotesque collection of creativity the likes of which I have never seen before. Oh, I've read great collections and anthologies that were exceptional. What makes the collection so unique and praiseworthy is the bedazzling array of styles and formats all offered by ONE author in ONE collection!
She offers horror and fairytales, sometimes in the same story. She is unafraid to leave the end of a story up to the reader. She exhibits a sense of humour that is so outrageous and yet appropriate to each situation that it is uncanny. Stated as simply and clearly as I can say it, Mercedes M Yardley is the writer least afraid of her own imagination writing today. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. I feel fortunate to be around as her career is taking flight.
Profile Image for Haralambi Markov.
Author 25 books32 followers
September 10, 2014
It’s a great debut. Beautiful Sorrows is subtle in some places, heartbreaking in others. Both surreal and painfully relatable in its familiarity. Mercedes M. Yardley sounds like no writer I’ve read until now and there’s a high chance she sounds like no one other than herself. That’s something to look forward to experiencing.

Beautiful Sorrows is a peculiar collection by a peculiar author with a peculiar voice and even more peculiar stories. That’s the best introduction I can manage and be concise as to what you can expect reading. This debut collection falls on the slimmer side, peppered with micro and flash fiction pieces serving as punctuation to the greater emotional narrative within Beautiful Sorrows. In his introduction, P. Gardner Goldsmith compares Yardley to a siren and rightfully so, but instead songs that fuel lust, Yardley sings songs to make hearts break.

For a full review make a stop at SF Signal
Profile Image for KWinks  .
1,187 reviews15 followers
October 15, 2013
I really enjoyed this collection. Normally, I hate short story collections. After awhile the stories usually just jam together in my mind. That happened here, too. Even these lyrical little scary beauties did not really stand out toward the end, but this is my bad. Yardley's writing is awesome and clever.
This bit is worth the price of the book alone: "She seemed like such a nice girl, so the whole 'being an axe murderer' thing was pretty hard to handle." Most of the stories in this collection have hooks like this. Some play out like a demented dream, some whisp away like a puff of smoke.
I highly recommend Broken, Black Mary, Axes, and Untied.
I hope this is the beginning of a great career for Yardley. I'll look for more of her titles in the future.
Profile Image for Cole Alpaugh.
Author 6 books17 followers
July 26, 2013
Beautiful Sorrows is the perfect title for this collection of lovely yet unnerving stories. Yardley's surreal voice is sparse and gritty, and I was often left to feel like I was walking across the rotting planks of a tall hayloft, imagining the worst and afraid to hope for the best. Each piece takes you on a disorienting journey, and Big Man Ben (my very favorite) provides an absolutely brilliant finish.

I've seen comparisons to Joe Hill and there's some truth to them, although I prefer Yardley's quirkier style. Beautiful Sorrows is beautifully written. Worthy of five and half stars.
Profile Image for Kenneth Cain.
Author 85 books202 followers
September 17, 2013
I read this book last year for Stoker award consideration and meant to leave a review, but somehow forgot. The other day while re-reading issue one of Shock Totem, I was suddenly reminded why I wanted to read this collection. I first became aware of Yardley with her story in issue one, "Murder for Beginners." I remember thinking there was a certain delicate darkness to the story that made me want more. This collection did not disappoint.
Profile Image for Wendy Knight.
Author 41 books343 followers
January 17, 2013
Beautiful Sorrows is not the genre of book I usually read. One, it is short stories, and two, it isn't happy and butterflies and meant for small children (I'm immature). BUT, that being said, once I started it I didn't want to stop, and if I did have to stop I couldn't stop thinking about it. The only way I can describe the writing is hauntingly beautiful, and the stories are poignant and stay with you long after you finish reading.
Profile Image for Laura.
6 reviews
December 27, 2012
I wanted this book to go on forever. Every new story was like meeting a new and fascinating person. I have never known any short story writer to be able to draw you in so deeply in just a few short pages. Finishing each story was like eating the sweetest treat from the dessert tray, and when I finished the last story, I was still not full. I loved this book.
Profile Image for Nisa.
343 reviews
February 10, 2013
Horror is not my genre of choice, but this collection is full of whimsy and hope. It's not your typical collection of horror stories. The voice is enchanting and you can't help but fall in love with every. single. character. no matter how small the part played. Even the ones you're supposed to hate.
Profile Image for Amanda.
34 reviews9 followers
July 16, 2014
This is a wonderful collection from an incredibly talented author. I truly believe that there is a story in it for everyone. There is fantasy, love, horror, whimsy, and mashed piles of these.

My favorite is The Boy That Hangs The Stars, a wonderful, touching tale about a boy with wings and holes in his hands.
Profile Image for Jack Night.
Author 7 books19 followers
October 19, 2012
I don't think I've truly read something that was "hauntingly beautiful" until Mercedes Yardley. Her prose glitters and draws you in, then bites with hidden teeth when you least expect it. Beautiful Sorrows is a wonderful collection by a truly talented author!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews

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