Thursday, 4 January 2018

'All Our Rooms Are Ensuite'

Tracey Fahey is a rising star of modern Gothic fiction, and her contribution to the Women in Horror Annual 2 is a satisfying, well-crafted story.

A young woman travels from Dundalk to Dublin to take up a job in the sales department of new, trendy sort of company. Her firm books her into a B&B that is sub-optimal, with garish decor and a long list of rules. It turns out that all new recruits are sent to that particular guest house. In her room the woman finds a diary. It's author was recruited by the same firm, which seems to process new staff members in a distinctly odd way. When the light fails while the woman is showering she senses a presence in the ensuite bathroom - something that her predecessor also sensed.

This is an old-school weird tale with a modern feel, combining the genuinely disturbing qualities of modern corporate culture with the time-honoured device of the found journal. It offers just enough ambiguity, just enough mundane but telling detail, to keep the reader interested. The sense of something not quite right builds gradually. Finally, there is horror - albeit one not quite seen, but very well imagined.

Good stuff. More from this running review later.

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