This collection of eerie stories (256 pages) was published in October of 2018 by Unbound Publishing. The book takes you to the Peak District of central England. Melissa read Help the Witch and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.
Everything Tom Cox writes has an urgency about it — as if the words flow unbidden and uninterrupted. But the details are so telling, the observation so shrewd, the words cannot be accidental. When he describes a tree, a hill, a storm, or a bracing swim in the ocean, you feel the tree bark, the grass, the wind, and the chill.
Cox is probably best known for writing books about cats that are not really about cats. His nonfiction narratives tackle the big stuff of life — love, death, magic, fear, history, family — by introducing us to all-too-human and feline characters and taking us into their day-to-day adventures. He’s got a rambling soul and shares his passion for the outdoors, walks that take unexpected turns, the wisdom of trees, and the hilarity (and tragedy) of family.
This, his first foray into fiction — and winner of a 2018 Shirley Jackson Award — is a collection of stories that are foreboding and eerie, unsettling but not scary. These tales will transport you directly to the heart of central England’s Peak District. He draws on his affection for folklore, and he uses the tools of nature writing to explore the shadowy depths of this house and just what might be under that tree. The stories are gauzy and shimmery, like the things you glimpse from the corner of your eye, only to have them disappear when you look directly.
Nine Tiny Stories About Houses, one of the best of the bunch, is told via brief snapshots of nine homes and the people who’ve passed through their walls. Another outstanding tale is the title story, a first-person account that places us in the room with the narrator who finds himself in a very spooky situation, indeed.
Friendly tip: Invest in a night light.
Outside, the dark is very dark. But in the day, the whiteness is very dark too, sometimes ever darker. — Tom Cox
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is © 2021 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.