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This House of Wounds

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  26 reviews
This House of Wounds is the devastating debut short story collection from British Fantasy Award-winning author Georgina Bruce. Haunting and visceral tales for the lost and the lonely. An emotional and riveting debut, with 4 brand new stories.
ebook, 260 pages
Published December 26th 2019 by Undertow Publications (first published May 2019)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  51 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Apr 10, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Cover art by Catrin Welz-Stein.
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
A fantastic collection of stories, full of magical realism with a touch of horror. If you are a fan of David Lynch's movies or Rebecca Grandsen's books then you'll really enjoy this. I loved everything about this book from the stunning cover (which my daughter says is the creepiest ever) to the stories themselves, including their mad titles.

The stories themselves touch on similar topics, absent mothers (absent in various ways), mirrors and the fractures they create when broken, pain and release
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite things about some authors is when they have a very distinct affinity for certain "theme words". As I read Georgina Bruce's luxurious prose, I was taking copious notes for this review.
Some theme words that stand out to me: Blood, Mirrors, Shadows.
Lots of imagery about the female body, slits, slips, openings, velvet...
Themes of Alice in Wonderland, self-discovery, womanhood, reflection...
Losing one's identity.
Finding yourself.
Objectification and oppression.
Georgina Bruce has covered ALL THE BASES in her debut story collection This House of Wounds and seems to be hell bent on stretching us beyond our comfort zones right from the get-to. There's no easing us in, no honeymoon phase, no whetting of the appetite here. She goes from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye, so make sure you're buckled up good and tight. Kicking things off with The Lady of Situations, we're lead to believe we're reading about a woman who's in the middle of a pretty fucked up ...more
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
"This fucking world. Dying at the edges. Sick all the way through. Everyone wired into that game, that madness."

This House of Wounds was my introduction to Georgina Bruce's writing. I buddy read this one with my friends Tracy and Audra, and we definitely had some interesting discussions while reading.

Georgina Bruce's writing is so beautiful. Her descriptions are creative and haunting, and I would kill to read a book of poetry written by her. I think this book does a great job at showing off he
Jack Stark
Second Read
Just fantastic. I think The Queen of Knives is one of my all time favourite short stories. There is so much in it.

First Read
Wow oh wow. My oh my. I am blown away. Speechless (almost). An example of outstanding short stories, consistent in high quality and substance. Many of them broke me.

Strange. Dreamlike. Surreal. Lynch-esque. Barely tethered to the here. Unsettling little mind snacks that creep in from the other side, keeping one eye on the possible. Creep in to tear at the heart
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
This House of Wounds is a dark, experimental short story collection that is interested in identity, specifically that of the feminine, and the fracturing and remaking of selves along with the dissonance between the real and the imagined.

Bruce’s writing is quite unique, creating half-formed grotesqueries and fantasies in my mind, things I could almost picture but were still insubstantial, dissipating like wisps of fog when I tried to really grab ahold and unpack them. It was beautiful to read, bu
Priya Sharma
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This House of Wound is a challenging collection which proves the point that nothing worth having comes easily. I’m still thinking about what the book as a whole means. Don’t be put off by this. It’s an investment that will pay dividends.

Georgina Bruce’s prose is dense, lush, sometimes overripe, sometimes surrealist, depending on the needs of the story.
I dreamed that her eyes were eggs that hatched two bald featherless birds with wide-open beaks, carmine throats, screaming like empty leather pu
Tracy Robinson
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it

Georgina Bruce's debut collection dives into the realms of dark fantasy/horror. Side note to state that the cover art by Catrin Welz-Stein is absolutely spectacular and it represents the collection quite well. While all of these stories are standalone, there are common themes of loss, grief, toxic relationships, and alternate realities. There are even a few that put me in mind of some of the more fantastical Black Mirror episodes. It certainly is, I think, a commentary on how we experience l
Daniel Carpenter
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A deeply strange collection of stories that I completely fell in love with, rangeing from the Aickman esque The Art Lovers, to the sci-fi backdrop of Cat World but feel of a whole.Bruce is operating on a higher tier than most authors, and these stories adopt dream logic in wonderful ways. Some might think of them as fairytales, but I felt they were less morally focussed. Georgina Bruce is not here to teach us lessons, to warn children about strangers, or to find happy endings. These are tough st ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm an Undertow subscriber and received my copy a few weeks ago. This House of Wounds is the best short story collection I’ve read this year. After I finished, I had to put it down, take a breath, and find my place in the world again. Georgina Bruce is an amazing writer, and I am most definitely a fan after reading her collection. Her work is unique but has the lush surrealness of Leonora Carrington’s short fiction and the exquisite imagery of Tanith Lee. This is the best type of weird fiction. ...more
Andrew Schultheis
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Found the stories in this collection to be very hit or miss with me. Genre-wise the work tends to be a mix of fantasy, horror and sci-fi. Two stories in particular "Wake up, Phil" and "The Art Lovers" were excellent. The slow building dread and paranoia of "Wake up, Phil" is truly nightmarish. I also really liked "Little Heart" and "The Book of Dreems."

I thought the stories that were less straight forward narrative-wise were far less interesting. They were very surreal and heavily symbolic and
Stewart Horn
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The first thing you’ll notice about this book is the cover: it’s one of the most beautiful images I’ve ever seen, and printed on good quality, lightly textured card that almost feels alive. It’s a sensual delight and a joy to touch, to hold, to open. It’s a promising start and warms me to the book before I’ve read a word.

Upon starting the first story, I realise how perfect the cover is. THE LADY OF SITUATIONS begins with an act of shocking violence, as if the image has leaked into the prose with
Aliki Ekaterini  Chapple
These disturbing, distressing stories are hard to categorise. Are they horror, fantasy, science fiction? Yes. Visceral in the sense that they are plump and warm with living blood, tender and smooth as living organs - but slippery, organic, individual. There are dream states here, virtual worlds, half-buried memories, and it’s hard to tell which is which; the vivid, beautiful prose just carries you along with it. Whatever else this collection is, it is deeply feminist, not the rah-rah feminism of ...more
Jan 18, 2020 added it
I don’t know what it is about wordy, lyric prose like this that really irritates me but I disliked a lot more in this than I liked. there’s ambiguity and then there’s writing that doesn’t even try to make sense of the text. annoying!
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is a rhythm in the prose of these tragedy tales, grace and beauty with the darkly poetic, horrifically human tales treading darkly into other realms, nightmarish and dreamlike at times, gothic artistry in twisted minutes, snippets from a myriad of characters, a strange and haunting world of wounds and feelings before the reader with memorable characters from blood spilling queens to princesses, crows and shadows.
Nicely crafted originality within these stories, the reader left with great an
Jack Westlake
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sixteen short stories by the always excellent, British Fantasy Award-winning Georgina Bruce.

A blend of fantasy, horror, slipstream - it's all there. The collection includes 'White Rabbit' which won the 2017 British Fantasy Award for best short fiction. However, my favourite has to be 'Dogs' - it blurs realism and fantasy perfectly, and is inflected with this feeling of loss and of being lost, making for what I think is a brilliant short story by the end of it.

A highly recommended collection.
Kevin L
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a stellar collection of stories. I’ve rarely read short fiction that pushed me as hard as these stories. Many are as powerful and challenging as the best poetry, forcing you to take in rhythm, repetition, allegory and hard truths.

I can not recommend this collection highly enough. Absolutely brilliant work by Bruce. I’ll eagerly seek out any new work by her.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Several reoccurring themes emerge in this collection. Many stories reference Alice in Wonderland, as well as blood, doors, smashed mirrors, the beach, sisters, unreliable memories, madness, dreams, movies, men and women in conflict, doppelgangers, metamorphosis, people with dog masks, and out-of-body experiences. Also, several of the stories make references to the cover image. While the repeating images would normally feel repetitious to me, they don't here, taking on thematic tones. It's actual ...more
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Literary weirdness, bizarre dreams, dark places. The prose caresses the cuts and stabs the eye. One of the recurring themes was blood. I read horror and thrillers but this was just a bit too far "out there" for me. There were only a handful of tales that seemed to have a recognizable story. I guess this says something about me but most were indecipherable. The stories aren't bad, they just aren't my cup of tea. The writing style is actually beautiful. This is my first encounter with the writing ...more
Laura Mauro
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This House of Wounds reads like dark magic; a collection of dreamlike tales which might also be spells, reading like incantations. Sublime descriptive language buoys you through dreamscapes, and often nightmarescapes; into the dark woods, along the ruined shores of a dead game-world, into the faded living room of a fading man. These are stories, but more importantly, they are experiences. "Cat World" shattered my heart. I read "Kuebiko" over and over and found something new every time. "White Ra ...more
Sam Edwards
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've never quite felt comfortable with the term "speculative" fiction, being that I myself write horror and consider myself foremost a "horror" writer. "Speculative," to me, is a sort of catch-all, and while I certainly don't dislike the term, it is more difficult to understand (for me, albeit I might be dense) than "sci-fi" or "fantasy." But if ever a book was deserving of the label "speculative," it is "House of Wounds."

In this collection, Georgina Bruce takes advantage of language, of metapho
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an imaginative horror debut collection by Georgina Bruce. Time and again the writing reached out and placed a cascade of glorious images in the space behind my eyes that merged with the narrative, in a way very few books have.

There is wonderful alternate world settings for each tale, I was very much taken by the stories Cat World a future of utter patriarchal control, girls and women are made to lose their humanity to survive, and The Book of Dreems which played with the idea of what mak
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A good writer who lacks the basic fundamentals of good story telling--in this collection, at least. Not one story in this collection captured, let alone held my attention. Not one. I would be hard pressed to explain what any of them were truly about. The story plots (basic fundamentals of story telling) were either too vague, or non-existent. Ninety-percent felt like a stream of consciousness. Like listening to a song without the beat. Just my opinion, though. Others might feel differently. Beau ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written collection of powerful short stories. I loved that the stories intertwined with one another in theme, and I was reminded of works by Shirley Jackson at times.
Steven Hunt
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
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