'The Air of Glory' - by John Howard

The next story in The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Mazes is the most modern thus far - its setting is urban, its theme that of identity within a same-sex relationship. Interestingly, Howard begins with a quote from Henry Vaughan, a Welsh poet of the late Renaissance. 'They are all gone into the world of light...' is surely one of the most potent lines into the language.

The literary Steve and Tom, who is into brutalist architecture, visit a Birmingham building that will soon be demolished. The upper floor is a mirror maze, and Tom - the point of view character - becomes confused by the sheer number of people reflected. The funhouse effect helps trigger Tom's  memories of his former lover who died in an accident that over which Tom feels irrational guilt.

This is not a horror story, and not exactly a ghost story. However, it does deal with themes common to both genres - the lost lover, the guilt, sudden and violent death. It makes for a pleasant change of pace before we (presumably) plunge back into stronger fare.

And I'm not far from the end of this anthology.


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