Richard Leis's Reviews > The Devil's Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes

The Devil's Dreamland by Sara Tantlinger
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really liked it
bookshelves: horror, poetry

To be honest, I'm reluctant to watch or read works based on real serial killers. I need the emotional distance of fiction in my horror. I also worry about glorifying and sensationalizing them, keeping them famous while their victims are always less well known or mourned.

But Sara Tantlinger has mostly won me over with her dark horror collection The Devil's Dreamland, and especially those poems that weave together what is known or imagined about the killer's life with the history of Chicago and contemplations about the nature of evil, including how society itself may be implicated. I didn't feel she was trying to get me to sympathize with the serial killer.

A little less effective for me personally were the poems about the victims, either in their own voices or in the voice of a third person persona narrator. The poems in the killer's voice were perhaps the most difficult for me to fathom, because the poetry of that voice is so, well, poetic, which is actually really disturbing, in my opinion.

But this is beautifully crafted poetry that tackles difficult topics well. The last few poems and their warnings about evil are particularly timely, and frightening.
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Reading Progress

November 25, 2019 – Started Reading
November 25, 2019 – Shelved
November 25, 2019 – Shelved as: horror
November 25, 2019 – Shelved as: poetry
November 25, 2019 – Finished Reading

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