Tuesday, 2 January 2018

'The Coffin Builder'


Caroline Katz's story from Women in Horror Annual 2 is an interest twist on the idea of the small community driven to excess by a strange force. In this case the eponymous craftsman constructs a coffin so perfect that everyone wants to have it. This means that they either kill themselves or other people in an attempt to claim the casket. 
Not surprisingly the authorities grow concerned. But the coffin builder - we never learn his name - refuses to either destroy the casket or use it for any of the rapidly accumulating heap of bodies. Eventually, though, it is an apparent accident that ends the crisis, and finally puts the coffin builder where he belongs. 


The story is neat, if slight, set in an unnamed US region - there's a state Governor, the names are American-sounding. The tone is whimsical, in a dark way, and the central idea recalls earlier fables of enchanted objects such as Borges' 'The Zahir'. It could also be seen as a satire on contemporary culture, where the desire for fame/notoriety transcends all common sense.

So, after the seasonal break, the running review is up again. More from WHA 2 very soon!


Women in Horror Annual 2 (WHA) by [Katz, C. Rachel]

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