Title: The Secret of Flight
Author: A.C. Wise
In: Black Feathers (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Horror
Dates read: 29th March 2019
Format: Short story
Publisher: Pegasus Books Ltd.
5th sentence, 74th page: POLICEMAN startles and falls back.
The secrets held in a play and its play house continue to haunt the director fifty years after the lead actress disappears. As the letters and the play unfold, so do the secrets that have been kept hidden over the years.
There are some short stories that tell a tale, start at the beginning and end at the end. Then there are short stories like this one. They are so open ended you’re not sure if you’ve missed something. So different and convoluted that no matter how many times I read it, I won’t feel like I have accessed all of the information.
There is something about plays and theatres that inspire a level of horror that you don’t find in many other settings. I’m not entirely sure why, maybe it is the juxtaposition between the light and gaudy front and the dark and twisty back. The level of secrecy that is inspired by having a backstage in which an actors’ transformation can occur. Whatever it is, it manages to situate feelings and tales of horror beautifully. And helps to twist this horror into one of tragedy and loss.
The secrets of the actors’ change echo the secrets of her life. The ways in which the starlings haunt the directors every moment make things vaguer and vaguer, more and more intense.
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