19 February 2012

The Infernal Republic and a my dilemma

Marshall Moore has written a collection of short stories. The blurb from Goodreads has this to say:
A lonely demon in a remote corner of Hell oversees a divine but rigged typing contest. A sentient house in San Francisco decides to become vacant once again... by any means necessary. A supernatural first date in Hong Kong goes hysterically, horribly awry. How did this become my life? And... now what? These questions recur throughout The Infernal Republic as a cast of characters you'd either love or run from confront the unlikely and surmount the impossible. The Infernal Republic is the new collection of short fiction from Marshall Moore, the author of The Concrete Sky, Black Shapes in a Darkened Room, and An Ideal for Living. Comprising stories published between 2003 and 2009, as well as several unique to this book, The Infernal Republic is Moore at his best: surreal, hilarious, wise, brutal, and sometimes just plain wrong.
 I read The Infernal Republic and am now faced with a dilemma: just because I didn't like the book does that make it a 'bad' book worthy of a negative review?

Honestly, the writing shows intelligence and imagination; the editing is impeccable; certainly the situations and stories are, as the blurb says, surreal and brutal. But this was just not my cup of tea. That's not to say it wouldn't be yours.

Many of the stories head into the realm of sci fi. No matter how good a book is purported to be, if it is sci fi, I likely won't enjoy it. That's just the way I'm made. Also the term 'brutal' is a perfect description of what I experienced with this collection. The language, violence and sex were very explicit. Not in every story but in most. It was actually more than my poor sensitivities could bear.

There was one short (very short) piece that I thought was OK - "Everything Has Been Arranged (or, chamomile tea at ten thousand feet)" which describes a futuristic approach to moving houses. It is two pages long and quite cute.

Again: great writing style, great editing, good flow within the stories - just not for me.

Character Development          5
Editing                                      5
Sex                                            5 – very explicit
Violence                                  5 – very explicit
Romance                                 0
Readability/Flow                     5

A Taste from page 23 "Everything Has Been Arranged (or chamomile tea at ten thousand feet)":
Tottering towers of boxes dominate the inside wall of this room. I own too many books. My cat Angus screeches like the teakettle did, and dives for cover under the sofa. The condo gives a lurch, and Angus hisses. No boxes tumble. It's a miracle of gravity and balance. My tea stays inside the cup, too, but needs to steep longer. I'm looking for a deeper shade of yellow.


  1. It's tough when you do not like it but see good things in it

  2. I appreciate your honest review Dana. It was very helpful. I'm sure this will be a great fit for some. It doesn't work for me because "brutal" isn't my cup of tea.

  3. I think this review is very positive for a book that wasn't a good fit for you. It is a dilemma we all face from time to time, fortunately in your case the book wasn't bad in general (those reviews are actually painful).


Here's your chance to voice your opinion. We all have them. I'd love to hear yours. I try to respond to all comments so please check back if you are interested in that.