Ancient folklore and modern myth come together in these stories by author Craig Laurance Gidney. Here are found the struggles of a medieval Japanese monk, seduced by a mischievous fairy, and a young slave who finds mystery deep within the briar patch of an antebellum plantation. Gidney offers readers a gay teen obsessed with his patron saint, Lena Horne, and, in the title story, an ailing tourist seeking escape at a distant shore but never reckons on encountering an African sea god. Rich, poetic, dark and disturbing, these are tales not soon forgotten.
Sea, Swallow Me is a wonderfully original and eventful collection, whose stories range from the supernatural to the historical to the right-now moment. Craig Gidney combines an exceptional gift for prose poetry—often as dark and steely as it is beautiful—with an unerring sense of the preposterous and the horrifying. (But add to that also occasional hilarity that should make a stone laugh aloud.) He breaks rules and remakes them, as many talented writers will, and is undaunted by the murks of society or psyche. Though inevitably (and rightly) he brings to his work the voices of Black and Gay Experience, what speaks most strongly throughout is the Human Experience—yes, even when confronted by a god of the sea. Here are elements of the young Ray Bradbury, of John Steinbeck, of Toni Morrison and James Baldwin and Angela Carter. But most of all it is the uniqueness of Gidney’s own take on life, clad in vivid, cunning and, in places, Dionysian language, that make this a must-read (and read again) collection. With new writers producing work of this caliber, the future of books looks bright.
—Tanith Lee, World Fantasy Award winner
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.