Book of Shadows: Grim Tales and Gothic Fancies
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For those who hunger for small bites of horror sweetened with black humor, this collection of Grim Tales and Gothic Fancies offers a satisfying repast: morbidly playful riffs on the faerie tales of the Brothers Grimm; darkly exquisite Gothic fables in both prose and verse; and hell-raising evocations of beings both demonic and diabolic. A rich feast of horrors leavened with wit, Book of Shadows offers a delicious glimpse into the decadent heart and mordant mind of Manuel Arenas.
In “The Sanguinary Saga of Morbidezza Vespertilio, Vampiress,” Arenas inverts “Sleeping Beauty” with more than a touch of Gothicism in the style of Hammer horror. With “Rosaire, Master of Wolves,” he shows us the dark genesis and bloody destiny of a born werewolf. A lighter touch is used in “Gothilocks,” a playfully sardonic update on “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” The dread demon of Christmas makes an appearance in “Greetings from Krampus,” and in “Nativity in Black: An Antichrist-mas Story,” we are presented with a dark celebration featuring all creatures great and infernal in a pageant—quite literally—from Hell.
This volume is sumptuously illustrated by Dan Sauer, whose surreal images heighten the effect of the dark fantasies contained herein.
"The poetry and fables of Manuel Arenas are like specially gifted party favours on All Hallows Eve. Unwrap them and you are regaled with black humour shot through with light... elegant beauty one breath from decay..." —Galad Elflandsson, Author of The Black Wolf
"No contemporary dark fantasist more ornately encapsulates or gleefully embodies in day to day life the Victorian Gothic essence than does Manuel Arenas. These funereal incantations are wrought of black, delicately faceted crystal, wherein one may see reflected the glossy black curls of Gothilocks, or the pale proud visage of vermilion-lipped Morbidezza. Femme fatales are the stars of this nocturnal pageant, but many a monster peer from these nightshade-tainted shadows as well. Like the sweet yet lethal berries of Atropa Belladona, these purple poems in prose and verse provide the perfect entertainment for an October night." —K. A. Opperman, Author of Past the Glad and Sunlit Season, October Ghosts and Autumn Dreams, and The Laughter of Ghouls
"Manuel Arenas's Book of Shadows is a delight and a revelation. The prose poem is one of the most challenging of literary forms, but Arenas has proven his effortless mastery of it over and over again--and his poems in metrical verse are also scintillating. Arenas draws upon the deep roots of the weird tradition, from the Devil to vampires to fairy tales, showing how these venerable motifs can retain vibrancy through deftness of expression and a keen awareness of the psychology of terror. We will hear much more from Manuel Arenas in the years to come." —S. T. Joshi, Editor of Spectral Realms
“While there is no denying Manuel Arenas’ devotion to the macabre, a definite strain of farcical absurdity runs through these pages, reminding us that horror and comedy are more closely related than some might care to admit. Owing as much to the influence of Edward Gorey, Young Frankenstein and the Addams Family as to more serious antecedents such as Poe and Grimms’ Fairy Tales, this morbidly delightful collection of tales and poetry is sure to bring a rictus grin to all who read them.” —Adam Bolivar, Author of The Ettinfell of Beacon Hill
Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 inches - 90 pages