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This Strange Way of Dying: Stories of Magic, Desire and the Fantastic

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Spanning a variety of genres—fantasy, science fiction, horror—and time periods, Silvia Moreno-Garcia's exceptional debut collection features short stories infused with Mexican folklore yet firmly rooted in a reality that transforms as the fantastic erodes the rational. This speculative fiction compilation, lyrical and tender, quirky and cutting, weaves the fantastic and th ...more
Paperback, 206 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by Exile Editions
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4.17  · 
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 ·  93 ratings  ·  37 reviews


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Orrin Grey
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let's get this out of the way right up front: I'm not exactly an unbiased party, here. Silvia is a friend, an editor, and, occasionally, an accomplice. I'd read a few of these stories in the places where they initially appeared, and I was pretty sold on this collection before my copy ever made its way to my inbox.

There's something so effortless about the way that the weird finds its way into the stories in This Strange Way of Dying. A casualness that does nothing to reduce the weirdness of it, b
...more
new_user
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wow. I don't typically enjoy genre anthologies, but Silvia Moreno-Garcia's spare, literary voice, the Mexican folklore, the relevant themes, and the eerie, gothic atmosphere made the pages fly in This Strange Way of Dying.

Scales as Pale as Moonlight: Divorced after repeated attempts to conceive, Laura is still haunted by the memory of a still birth. Initially, I dreaded a premise reminding me of romance protagonists who lament their "empty wombs" and devalue themselves, but despite her grief, L
...more
Christopher Slatsky
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This Strange Way of Dying holds stories suffused with such melancholy and beauty they become something both affirmative yet soul crushingly tragic. These are tales not as concerned with drawing lines where tides of magic lap at the shores of reality, but are intent on abolishing any demarcations whatsoever. The fantastic and the mundane not only rub shoulders within, there’s little distinction- both are equally responsible for the misery and joy and horror and wonder to be found in Silvia Moreno ...more
Michael Healy
A beautiful collection that flawlessly mixes Mythos based horror, magical realism, and outright urban fantasy without missing a beat. Normally I'm not much of a fan of single author collections, tiring of a single voice trying to tell several different but vaguely thematic stories but Moreno-Garcia demonstrated an ability to weave countless different voices from many walks of life.

Derek Newman-Stille
Penning the Subtle Murmur of Death and Splash of Blood

A review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s This Strange Way of Dying (Forthcoming 2013, Exile Editions)
By Derek Newman-Stille


Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s This Strange Way of Dying is just one step abstracted from reality, with one foot in The Weird. Populated with monsters, magic, and folklore, her work is fundamentally about the human outsider experience, the deeper engagement with the world that comes from being on the fringe, looking in at the oddity th
...more
Jess
Check out this review and more on my blog!

Check out my review of Signal to Noise here!


You should all know by now that I adored Silvia Moreno-Garcia's debut novel, Signal to Noise, and with her second novel, Certain Dark Things , not being released until October I turned to her short fiction for my next fix.

This Strange Way of Dying is a collection of speculative fiction, much of which incorporates Mexico and Mexican mythology; I loved the Mexican setting in Signal to Noise, so I was really exci
...more
Betty
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who appreciate dark magical realism.
Title: This Strange Way of Dying
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: I think we'd have to call this anthology speculative fiction. It crosses many genres, including fantasy, horror, magical realism, and sci fi. In places it is quite dark.
Setting: Mostly Mexico in various time periods.
Reason for Reading: I have been getting some support and suggestions from a livejournal community, and one of the members suggested this anthology.
Relevance to the Project: Something I haven't mentioned here before is
...more
Arinn Dembo
I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of this little collection earlier this summer, and I was delighted. Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a fantastic writer whose work has appeared quietly in a number of venues, but this is the first time that a large body of her work has been gathered in one place.

I don't want to spoil the tales in this collection, but a few facts might be useful to prospective readers.

One: most of the author's fiction is set in Mexico, and most of her characters are Hispanic a
...more
Zoe Brooks
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic-realism
The author of This Strange Way of Dying approached me for a review ages ago and I am embarrassed to say I forgot about it. I therefore apologize to Ms Moreno-Garcia and to you my readers as this is a short story collection I can recommend. Not all the stories are magic realism, as the description above states, but several are, and I enjoyed the examples of other genres as well. But then many of the stories actually span genres and move between them.

She takes what might be conventional genre cha
...more
Helen Marshall
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lushly realized, vivid, gorgeous prose. Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a writer of the highest calibre and I'm delighted to see her first full collection in print. Highly recommended.
Ian Casey
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Silvia Moreno-Garcia had a number of accomplishments as an editor under her belt before launching her debut fiction work, the short story collection This Strange Way of Dying. Unfortunately, my copy doesn't provide details of when the individual stories were first published, but she was definitely writing and editing concurrently from around 2011 at the latest.

This is a solid and varied collection that ranges across many styles of the 'fantastique', from magical realism to dark fantasy to gothic
...more
Peter
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The cover art says it all. Chances are that if you are a unilingual North American you will not have encountered stories like these. Further, if you haven't, I can't say whether or not you will love them or hate them; that's up to you. I can, however, predict with confidence that you will not soon forget these stories.

For me, these stories are a breath of fresh air. They are unlike those usually coming from the United States, from Canada, from the UK or, from Europe for that matter. I haven't r
...more
Hesper
I love the ordinary, almost casual, way the fantastic intersects with the mundane in these stories. Not having cared for Certain Dark Things, I put off reading this anthology in spite of it having lived on my TBR longer than the novel. To an extent, Silvia Moreno-Garcia's stark and spare style feels like a better fit for the compact narrative of shorter fiction, but I know I'm saying that because it worked so well here. Far from turning on style alone, this is a smart, perceptive collection that ...more
Christie
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting collection of short stories. I'm not generally very into collections, but these weren't terrible. They weren't very scary, and I had been expecting that, but they were inventive.
Leigh Harlen
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A lovely collection. Dark, sometimes funny and sometimes sad. Silva Moreno-Garcia is definitely an author to keep your eye on.
Misty
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The stories are all so different - some beautiful, some creepy, and a lot depressing. But all are captivating.
Larissa
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful collection. The title story and "Bed of Scorpions" really stuck with me.
Fangs for the Fantasy
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of short stories and it’s rather unlike any I’ve read before.

In some ways I don’t think “stories” is the correct way to refer to these entries. None of them really conclude or have any real ending, most of them only have a little backstory but not one that goes back very far. Even plot is somewhat absent in most of them. What they are more are vignettes. Or photographs in literary form. Each story concentrates on creating a theme and atmosphere and they all do it incred
...more
Kevin
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I discovered Silvia Moreno-Garcia through the late Larry Santoro's "Tales to Terrify" podcast. In episode 9, Amy Sturgis does an awesome job narrating the story "Flash Frame" from this collection. All you need to know about 'Flash Frame' is that it is still, in my head, titled "The Queen in Yellow." I have to look up the real title everytime I think of it. And despite hearing it for the first time two and a half years ago, it has stuck with me. Except for the title. It's not a bad title, it's ju ...more
Paper Droids
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s debut collection of short fiction, This Strange Way of Dying, combines Mexican folklore with multiple genres, including fantasy, sci-fi and magic realism. Though each story seems to be set in a different reality, common themes are woven throughout the collection, tying it into a cohesive whole that is engaging and fantastic.

The collection begins with “Scales as Pale as Moonlight,” a story about a woman who returns to her hometown after the stillbirth of her child. Set in s
...more
Bogi Takács
A great short story collection - I was surprised by how many of the stories I'd previously read; I guess this proves I'm a fan of Silvia's work! I wish the anthology was longer, but this was IMO a solid selection of pieces, with considerable consistency despite the variety in genres. The Mexican themes helped produce a cohesive whole. "Flash Frame" and the title story were probably my favorites.

The strength of an authorial collection can be determined by the quality of the missing stories. Is th
...more
JM
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
So I'm on a bit of a Lovecraftian kick lately and I came across Ms. Moreno-García's post-grad thesis on the internet about how eugenics are reflected in old HP's work and I found it very interesting, so I decided to give her fiction a try. I'm rally glad I did, her short stories are cool as hell and I love the way she blends Mexican folklore and culture with such varied genres as horror, sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism and even noir. I just ordered both her novels, because it's a pleasure to ru ...more
Polenth Blake
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Silvia Moreno-Garcia's collection has stories mostly set in Mexico, with speculative and folkloric themes. My favourite was "Maquech", about selling live beetle jewellery. The beetle is the last one decorated by a particular crafter, and brings with it dreams of the jungle. Yet it has to be sold to cover basic living costs, to a rich person who only wants it as this season's shiny thing.

It's a strong collection, with a range of themes and approaches. Recommended for those who like stories of the
...more
Lenora Rose
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
SO glad I picked this up. I met the author for the second year in a row at Keycon (we even shared one Panel!), and I kept liking what she had to say and how she said it.

This apparently goes for her short fiction, too. Weird and poetic, often strongly Mexican in culture and folklore (Though Snow brings the same creepy magical realism to a Canadian campus to great success), I found the stories disturbing at times, but almost always engrossing. A fast and worthy read I will definitely want to retur
...more
Cristina López
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The fact that it is a compendium of small stories was very well exploited. Each story is filled with a sense of fantasy and science fiction, closely intrincated to the Mexican culture, habits and beliefs.

As a Mexican myself, I am very happy to have found this book in a charity shop, this truly was like a treasure hunt. All stories use fantasy and science fiction to discuss or portray a specific moral or existential question, and would happily read each story if t
...more
CM Schofield
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This eclectic collection of stories paints beautiful and haunting pictures with words. Each one was different and distinct and completely gripping. There wasn’t one that I could put down half way through. Not a single one.

I think my only gripe would be that some of the stories don’t really have an end – they just finish. Some of them I was dying for something climactic that just never came. Though I think for those stories that was rather the point.

That said, I loved every one of them and will
...more
Allison
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've had such wonderful luck with speculative anthologies and collections over the last year! I only recently read Moreno-Garcia's Signal to Noise which I really enjoyed, so I decided to go back and read her story collections (Love & Other Poisons is also on my Kobo to read soon).

I don't think there was a single story I didn't completely love.
Elizabeth
Dec 20, 2015 rated it liked it
I loved the mondo bizarro nature of these stories, but I was more interested in details of setting than in the characters, who remained rather flat to me. I wish this author would perform a duet with Kelly Link!
Joseph
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wonderful collection. I especially enjoyed the stories "Maquech," "Shade of the Ceiba Tree," and the title story.
Barbara McEwen
A memorable collection of strange stories. I loved the Mexican flavour and interesting women in each story.
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Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of several novels, including Gods of Jade and Shadow. She has also edited a number of anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu's Daughters). Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination.