North American Lake Monsters

North American Lake Monsters


Book - 2013
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Baker & Taylor
Presents a series of short stories about the dark side of love and human existence.

Perseus Publishing
Love has a terrible power over our our lives: it distorts, corrupts, drives, or redeems us.

Nathan Ballingrud's Shirley Jackson Award winning debut collection is a shattering and luminous experience not to be missed by those who love to explore the darker parts of the human psyche. Monsters, real and imagined, external and internal, are the subject. They are us and we are them and Ballingrud's intense focus makes these stories incredibly intense and irresistible.

These are love stories. And also monster stories. Sometimes these are monsters in their traditional guises, sometimes they wear the faces of parents, lovers, or ourselves. The often working-class people in these stories are driven to extremes by love. Sometimes, they are ruined; sometimes redeemed. All are faced with the loneliest corners of themselves and strive to find an escape.

Nathan Ballingrud was born in Massachusetts but has spent most of his life in the South. He worked as a bartender in New Orleans and New York City and a cook on offshore oil rigs. His story "The Monsters of Heaven" won the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his daughter.

Publisher: Easthampton, MA : Small Beer Press, [2013]
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9781618730602
Branch Call Number: SciFic Ballingrud
Characteristics: 205 pages ; 23 cm


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Grab your swimsuit and dive in!

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Hillsboro_RobP Oct 17, 2019

A parade of troubled working class folk failing to find themselves with a splash of horror added to the mix.
While I appreciate the stories, the writing, and the deeply flawed characters (mostly men struggling with their shortcomings), none of the endings manage to stick the landings in the way that short stories are famous for. They don't necessarily need to do this, but without that final punch, the reader never gets any satisfying closure. Still, these are powerful and sometimes heartbreaking tales.

ReadingAdviser_Sally Jan 15, 2019

I found this to be a pretty good collection of short stories. It is a blend of dark fantasy, noir and horror. The writing is very atmospheric although I did find it to be a little slow in parts. The other thing I would note is that this is definitely a "bleak and uncompromising examination of 21st century masculinity" as pointed out by Laird Barron on Goodreads. I don't know if this was necessarily for me but I can see how it would be something very interesting to someone else.

sit_walk Sep 16, 2018

This is a brilliant collection of horror short stories that turns the genre on its head. In these stories the protagonists struggle with, live with, the effects of some exposure to the supernatural. All quite wonderfully done.

Feb 28, 2017

I suggest everyone avoid this book. I have read many excellent short story collections, this is NOT one. The most horrifying thing about this book is the disjointed, rambling nature of the stories themselves. This was probably some of the most pretentious drivel I have ever read since reading "DJSturbia" by David Schow. I get the feeling that Mr. Ballingrud is one of those annoying people who likes to talk simply to hear themselves speak. Incomprehensible.

Jul 09, 2015

These stories start out quite normally, but the further they go, the more terrifying they get- no blood-and-guts horror, but a creeping and slow sense that something is wrong.

A great read! Although maybe not right before bed...


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ReadingAdviser_Sally Jan 15, 2019

“A ghost is something that fills a hole inside you, where you lost something. It's a memory. Sometimes it can be painful, and sometimes it can be scary. Sometimes it's hard to tell where the ghost ends and real life begins.”

ReadingAdviser_Sally Jan 15, 2019

“Dodger smelled the way dogs do, musky and of the earth, and he sighed with the abiding patience of his kind.”

ReadingAdviser_Sally Jan 15, 2019

“He imagined the room bathed in blood, himself striding through it, a raven amongst the carcasses. Strutting like any carrion king.”
― Nathan Ballingrud, North American Lake Monsters


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