Amazon Link: Tripping Over Twilight.
4 ephemerally mangled appendages out of 5
Reading time: 5 hr., 30 min.
Remember to always take care when stepping out into the twilight. The transition from light to dark can be treacherous. People have been known to stumble and fall.
T.W. Grim invites you to pull up a chair and watch the sun slip pass the horizon with this dark and macabre collection of short stories. Tripping Over Twilight offers a disquieting look at what happens to familiar places after the comforting light of day has been extinguished by the creeping shroud of night fall. Turn down the lights, get comfortable… and prepare to lose some sleep.
This is a distinctly Lovecraftian horror anthology, carefully curated to tell a story in the pattern of its stories. Its style is visceral, agonizingly so, and it pulls off grizzly horror better than anything I’ve read in years. Its only major failings are a shallow lack of meaning and a visible lack of proofreading, the former representing a disquieting missed opportunity and the latter an insignificant but nonetheless omnipresent distraction.
This text is, as mentioned, a contestant to the legacy of Lovecraft. This description, however accurate, nonetheless fails to capture the entirety of it, its nearly profound use of crudity and graphic, brutal violence overwhelming the boundaries of Lovecraftian subtlety in a fashion that works wonders in ways it has no right to. The prose style is unapologetic, seeking no quarter from the soulless, blindly pretentious arthouse literature crowd that so deftly dodges around comprehension of the nature of art and literature as to veritably demand books like this to mock its failings.
That is not to say, however, that the book entirely overwhelms any objection such a benighted soul might have. Its unflappable resistance to artistic pretention does it credit, but the lack of any artistic substance behind the curtain, the lack of any message or meaning rising above the (admittedly considerable) entertainment value, most certainly undermines it to a very real degree. Of course, there’s little argument that could be made for the idea that every book must have deeper meaning, but there are very few which would not be served by some deeper hook into the intellectual psyche, if only for the inherent increase to their emotional impact. This is a prime example of such a missed opportunity. Combined with the veritable slew of typographical errors, this edges it out of the 5-star category with a wetly depressing thud.
The character development is very nearly preternatural given the length of the stories, truly human souls gazing haplessly out from the page as if desperate to achieve traction in the reader’s mind in order to escape their situation. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it unparalleled, but it certainly rises leagues above the norm and gives tremendous artistic credibility to what might otherwise be seen as a penny-dreadful-style gorefest.
The pacing is sufficient, hardly groundbreaking and bringing nothing in particular to the proceedings, but nonetheless it does what needs to be done and keeps its head down. At no point did I find myself feeling rushed or bored, merely moving steadily and effectively from point A to point Z and all points in between.
Most of all, though, the success of an anthology hangs not on the value of the individual stories, however brilliant, but on the summation of the text, the bringing together of elements to form a cohesive emotional journey, and this is where the book truly shines. There is an unshakable but indistinct and ephemeral story being told here, a descent from casual mortal conflict to inherent insanity that creeps up to slaughter you word by word.
All in all, this is an excellent book. It won’t change your life, it won’t realign your perceptions, but it will absolutely enthrall you and give the sort of stomach-tightening, painful fascination that true horror fans live for and for which T.W. Grim is rightly known. This is a book that you simply can’t escape.