Things We Say In The Dark by Kirsty Logan

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Kirsty Logan has, with Things We Say In The Dark astutely given a voice to the fears, anxieties and troublesome ideas that we so often utter in the silence of the darkness, what we scream into the void when we believe no one is watching or listening (many of these stories focusing on women and their fears). Logan expertly pulls these dark thoughts into the light kicking and screaming until their imprisoned on the page, detailing in blinding clarity some of those ideas that taint the mind and spoil the person when left unsaid.

The themes that Logan covers in this much needed slice of horror are topics such as inadequacy as a mother, depression, fears of becoming a mother, birthing concerns, isolation, claustrophobia, violence and the need or want  of belonging – it’s a book that helps and addresses these issues head on and is a bold statement from Logan to showcase to women and others (with whom the themes resonate with) that you are not alone, and your concerns worries and fears that you utter in the dark are shared.

Told in prose that is terse and which has beguiling dark undertones, Logan is able to add a mystic fable quality to her writing. Logan doesn’t shy away from anything, every dark thought is under the microscope and it’s this boldness and honesty in Logan’s writing which makes it impossible to look away from. I enjoyed the short paragraphs that followed each story, detailing the writers journey, these for me helped give even more power to the stories and an insight into the writing process.

Things We Say In The Dark reads like the unabashed and unashamed musings of Chuck Palahniuk – which showcases to us Logan’s deep-rooted fears in gruesome and spellbinding clarity. There is no subject off topic, some would say it’s taboo writing, writing shocks for shocks sake – but I’d say it’s a masterful collection that knows no bounds from a writer who is unshackled by bearing her darkest thoughts to the page and being freed as she gives them life.

There are too many stories to talk about in this collection, each one masterful, each one hard-hitting – meaning that their combined power makes Things We Say in the Dark an urgent and most compelling collection of feminist stories. Miss Things We Say In The Dark and Kirsty Logan at your peril, to discover her and this collection is freeing and life-changing – horror never looked so beautiful!

Things We Say In The Dark is published by Harvill Secker and is available here.

Kirsty Logan

Kirsty Logan is the author of the novels The Gracekeepers and The Gloaming, the short story collections A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales, the flash fiction chapbook The Psychology of Animals Swallowed Alive, and the short memoir The Old Asylum in the Woods at the Edge of the Town Where I Grew Up. Her books have won the LAMBDA Literary Award, the Polari First Book Prize, the Saboteur Award, the Scott Prize and the Gavin Wallace Fellowship, and been selected for the Radio 2 Book Club and the Waterstones Book Club. In 2019 she was selected as one of the ten most outstanding LGBTQ British writers for the International Literature Showcase. Her short fiction and poetry has been translated into Japanese and Spanish, recorded for radio and podcasts, exhibited in galleries and distributed from a vintage Wurlitzer cigarette machine. She lives in Glasgow with her wife and their rescue dog.

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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