Up until reading The Very Best of Caitlín R. Keirnan, I’ve only read Keirnan’s book, Black Helicopters, and her short stories “Fish Brides,” “On the Reef,” and “The Transition of Elizabeth Haskings” in the anthology Weirder Shadows over Innsmouth. I enjoyed them all, but as I read and finished The Very Best, I became entirely engrossed by Kiernan’s prose and her work.
Every story in The Very Best is as good as the last: “Andromeda Among the Stones,” “A Child’s Guide to the Hollow Hills,” “In View of Nothing,” “The Steam Dancer (1896),” “The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean,” etc. I could list every story in this book, because they’re all fantastic. It’s truly rare to find a collection of stories like this. It’s even rarer to find an author who can craft such uniquely weird and deeply emotional and humanistic tales such as these.
Kerinan’s prose is provocative, mysterious, soothing, decadent, flowery without being flowery. It’s seeing a master at her best. It’s inspiring, mystifying, indescribable. I could try to describe how much I enjoy her prose, but it would only come out wrong. It would be like a child trying to describe the vastness and mystery of the cosmos.
If it’s not clear already, I cannot recommend and praise this book enough. If you’re a fan of Keirnan, then there shouldn’t be any hesitation to purchase this book; if you’re not a fan, then there still shouldn’t be any hesitation to purchase this book.
Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan is an Irish-born American author of science fiction and dark fantasy works, including ten novels, many comic books, and more than two hundred and fifty published short stories, novellas, and vignettes. She is also the author of scientific papers in the field of paleontology.