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Song for the Unraveling of the World

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  553 ratings  ·  98 reviews
A newborn's absent face appears on the back of someone else's head, a filmmaker goes to gruesome lengths to achieve the silence he's after for his final scene, and a therapist begins, impossibly, to appear in a troubled patient's room late at night. In these stories of doubt, delusion, and paranoia, no belief, no claim to objectivity, is immune to the distortions of human ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Coffee House Press
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  553 ratings  ·  98 reviews


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Richard
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stuff, horror
There's nothing more exciting than reading work by an author who's completely singular and unique, an author that almost defies description. Brian Evenson is one of those writers. Anyone who's ever read any work by him knows what I'm talking about. I'm not quite sure how to even catogerize the stories included here, which is the first full story collection I've read by him. They're mostly horrifying, but not quite standard horror, there are some pieces with aliens and spaceships but I wouldn't ...more
S̶e̶a̶n̶
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: a locked roomful of stragglers
Recommended to S̶e̶a̶n̶ by: the mirthless smile of the night therapist
Brian Evenson seems to have reached a plateau in his short fiction. It is a high plateau, for sure, but I don't know if it's possible for him to climb any higher at this point without expanding his repertoire. This collection is a pretty typical blend of styles for him. I like his absurdist tendencies best, and unfortunately there wasn't a lot of that on display here. Instead there is a lot of paranoia, a lot of characters catching glimpses of the unknown just out of clear sight. There are also ...more
Spencer
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Song for the Unravelling of the World is like a fever dream of nihilistic visions. It’s masterfully written, utterly captivating and there isn’t a bad story in the collection. I highly recommend this book, especially if you like your horror bleak and bizarre.
Benoit Lelièvre
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brian Evenson doesn't exaclty break new ground here, but he knows what he's good at and he does it better than anyone else.

This collection explores Evenson's familiar themes of unknowability and existential alienation in his one again fun, but familiar settings: empty buildings, desolate houses, a skyscraper's ruins, etc. Perhaps my two favorite stories were A DISAPPEARANCE, which explores grief, judgement and appearances and SISTERS, which is just downright freaky. It could've been a straight
...more
Marie-Therese
3.5 stars

This was a bit more uneven than I've come to expect from Brian Evenson, with a surfeit of rather unengaging and surprisingly graceless stories at the beginning of the volume. I'll admit that I was almost ready to give up on the book when I came upon "The Second Door". I immediately remembered this as being an impressive story I'd already read in Looming Low:Volume I and Year's Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 5 and wasn't surprised that I liked it just as much on a third reading. After that,
...more
Philip Fracassi
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, genre, modern-lit
SONG FOR THE UNRAVELING OF THE WORLD is another stunning collection by Evenson, who is easily the modern master of the weird tale. I found this collection to be incredibly charming, with surprising moments of delicious snark and bowls full of unsettling creepiness. These stories take place in worlds we don't see until it's too late. These are harrowing stories that involve very real people, and at times you feel their despair and at other times they horrify you with their actions. A stellar ...more
Lori
Brian Evenson is the king of creepy fiction and this collection deftly displays his range - from science to speculative fiction and the more subtle paranoia of mental horror genres, every story packs a powerful punch. Eerie and urgent, these stories are drenched in ambiguity and dread. They are hypnotically nightmarish and ruthlessly tease the reader by witholding just the right amount of detail to keep us ravenously craving more without turning us off.

Some of my favorites include "No Matter
...more
Shane Keene
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-review
Full review on Ink Heist if you're so inclined, but seriously. No words are adequate to describe or praise the eloquence and beauty of Brian Evenson's wonderful narratives. Only a read of the book will give you an inkling of the magic it contains. I can't recommend it enough. Buy it. Read it. You will love it.
Leo Robertson
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Extremely cool nightmares!
Lou
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brian Evenson On his new story collection, writing, recommendations, and inspirations | More2Read

Girl with no face,
therapy, therapists and being born still,
fathers search for daughter missing with hint of her singing there but not there,
reflections on parents and a sister dead,
a strange home and dilemma,
filmmaking by any means necessary,
Hrafndis stragglers and the tower,
a guy with gold suite and face on wrong side of his head,
Man feeling.. someone is watching me,
Crew gone expect one or two
...more
Lex
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Every story here can be summarized as, "There's something unsettling. Maybe it gets slightly more unsettling; maybe it just stays the same level of unsettling. The end."
Matthew Burris
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I never like short story books. I liked this one. Good eerie, weird dark? short stories. “Trigger Warnings” is fun to read out loud.
Kurt
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Another gonzo-genius collection of weird-horror short stories from one of the Modern Masters.

There's really no way to describe any of what goes on within, other than to speak of it in an oblique sense of the style: the author not only has one of the most unique imaginations going, but his technical skill level should be hung up in the Hall of Semantic Wordplay with tassles made from butchered unicorn hair. You can imagine any author killing small babies just to have one of these qualities; yet
...more
Joseph Haeger
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really, this book is a litmus test for how one looks at the world. Is it a cold and unforgiving hellscape? Or is there a cosmic justice keeping a balance between good and evil? Are we on our own? Or is there a god looking over us?

This is a bleak collection of stories. Any horror fan—in any of its subgenres—should pick it up immediately. Evenson provides us with a master class in subtlety and how understating the horror often creates a much scarier premise. Good luck trying to unlock the
...more
Elizabeth Smart
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-read, book-club
All of these stories are TERRIFYING and I was living my best life the entire time I was reading. Evanson has a real touch for the eerie. There was only one story I didn't like and it was barely a story. This may be my favorite of the short story collections I've read so far this year.

For posterity, here are my favorites: Born Stillborn, Sisters, Room Tone, Shirts and Skins, A Disappearance, The Glistening World, Glasses, Line of Sight, Lather of Flies
Wes
Evenson is a master of crafting truly incredible works of short fiction that have just as much chance of utterly horrifying you as they do to make you snort with laughter. (Admittedly, there is a better chance that they will cause nightmares.)

He has quickly become a personal favorite, and I can't wait to dig further in to his work.
Joey B.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some stories are predictable, others viscerally shocking. A strong 4 star rating.
Logan Noble
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An easy five stars. Longer review incoming.
Andrea
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Deeply, deeply creepy stories.
David Agranoff
Maybe this is not the most appropriate time to write an elegy for a writer but hear me out. I know we have lots and lots of years left of Brian Evenson stories but last week we lost Dennis Etchison. If you are not familiar with Dennis he was a writer who despite a few novels, screenplays, and radio dramas was an absolute master of short horror fiction. As a short story writer few reached the level of balancing creepy, delusional and paranoid scares that Dennis Etchison did with 10 or so pages. ...more
Sean McGowan
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
What's scarier, the ways we delude ourselves to the point of insanity and paranoia, or a big scary alien monster from another dimension? Trick question dipshit you don't have to decide because this book has both.

Evenson's short stories, specifically his sci-fi, reminded me of Saunders'. There's that same love for strange details, names, made-up jargon—and while both explore humanity at its darkest, I feel like Saunders is more optimistic than Evenson.

Favorite stories: Glasses, Shirts &
...more
Valerie
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well, I received this from a giveaway I won hosted by Coffee House Press. I am so glad I won and was given the opportunity to read this! It is fantastic! I couldn’t say if I would have picked it up on my own, but if not, I would have missed out on some horribly creepy stories!

This is my first time reading anything by Brian Evenson I am glad I now have him on my radar! His stories in this collection are some of the oddest I have ever read, told in a natural way that make a strange sort of sense.
...more
Jeremy Wingard
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First off, let me just say, I love Brian Evenson. I first discovered him in late 2017/early 2018 and have read pretty much everything by him I can get my hands on. So when I read Song for the Unraveling of the World, I read it not only as an individual collection but also as a piece to his larger canon of work. And, I have to say, it fits in perfectly with his oeuvre, while also pushing forward in new and sometimes unexpected ways.

Evenson is a writer who, on the surface, may seem to write the
...more
Ray
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
Another collection of macabre stories from Brian Evenson. Several of the tales feature sisters, twins, and assorted parallel versions of manufactured selves (floating around in icky vats and what have you), and explore what it means to be an individual, to be human, or just plain, to be. Gun to head/absolute favorites are : 'No Matter Which We Turned', 'Leaking Out', 'Sisters', 'Room Tone', 'A Disappearance', 'Wanderlust', and 'Trigger Warnings'. The latter, a humorous piece, is an outlier--as ...more
Heidi Ward
Brian Evenson's stories are almost always excellent, and this collection is no different. More unsettling than terrifying, most of these tales turn on the uncanny, particularly by doubling ("The Second Door"; "Wanderlust"; "Kindred Spirit"), but also on the sense of dislocation and dread found in unreliable perception and sensory anomalies ("Smear"; "Glasses"; "Line of Sight"). Some do both, because Evenson is just that good.

I would be remiss if I didn't also note that the short, sharp,
...more
Jean
"Song’s careful prose gives his work a dry, somewhat academic tone, possibly the toll of Evenson’s years at teaching university-level creative writing. The flattened, emotionally blunted voice is effective, though. A bland acceptance of all the wrong things, married with Evenson’s mastery of detail, lulls you into the protagonist’s skewed world. Then, before you know it, the back of your neck is prickling" - More at my writeup at Kenyon Review
https://www.kenyonreview.org/reviews/...
Austin James
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Never failing to deliver, Evanson’s newest collection, Song for the Unraveling of the World, is a disturbing delight. Each story brings a layer of weird and unsettling flavor, weaving a sinkhole glimpse into his strange, masterful mind.
Danielle
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brian Evenson's work is always astounding, and this collection of short stories is no exception. If you are looking for creepy stories that are actually well-written AND truly unsettling, you really can't go wrong with this book.
Claire
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
faves: the second door, sisters, the glistening world, wanderlust, glasses, line of sight, a disappearance
Derek Ambrose
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 52-in-2019
Be careful with this book. This is the first book I have read by Brian Evenson and for the life of me I cannot find how I came across it or decided to buy it. I can see it in my library search (they didn't have it). I can see that I ordered it online and paid for it but I cannot remember why. Was it a recommendation from an email list or writer newsletter I subscribe to? No. Did a friend tell me about it? I asked and no one did. Was it an article online about upcoming horror fiction? I've gone ...more
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“But this is not that kind of story, the kind meant to explain things. It simply tells things as they are, and as you know there is no explanation for how things are, at least none that would make any difference and allow them to be something else.” 1 likes
“And there's another one, where you look yourself in the mirror and keep looking until you can see through your skin, and then you draw your own heart and send the drawing in a letter to someone else."

"Why would you do that?" I couldn't stop myself from saying.

"So that they can control you," she said. "You are saying, 'I do not want myself and so I am giving you the gift of me.' Or something like that."

"It's very strange here," I said.”
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