Unpleasant Tales by Brendan Connell

A real-time review by Paulo Brito.

Unpleasant Tales

From the comic to the shocking, from the refined to the visceral, and blurring the boundaries between all four – Unpleasant Tales is a remarkable new collection of some of Brendan Connell’s darkest stories. Drenched in gluttony and decadence and with a scope stretching from the depravity of rulers in ancient Greece and Renaissance Spain, to phantasmagorical body alteration in Zürich and New York, these are supremely refined and elegant, creepily intelligent and, of course, exquisitely unpleasant stories that pack a tremendous punch, both individually and collectively. Stories that will not easily be forgotten.
# quote from http://www.eibonvalepress.co.uk

Unpleasant Tales by Brendan Connell” it was published by Eibonvale Press.

It features 22 stories.

This real-time review will appear, as and when I read it, in the thought stream found below or by clicking on the title of this post.

22 thoughts on “Unpleasant Tales by Brendan Connell

  1. For reasons that reason doesn’t know, the music that I like to hear the most is the Adagio in G Minor by Albinoni. Another visceral music for me is the Stabat Mater by Antonín Dvořák, not forgetting of course the album Porta VIII by Stoa.

    (intermission)

    The Maker of Fine Instruments isn’t a scary story, or even a horror story (maybe it is). I like to say more that it is an intense story that evokes strong emotions. As soon as the story began, I was immersed in a gripping tale of such perverse and insane innocence that I felt transported to the cemeterial placidity of the black, white, gray marble of tombstones – humm… thumbs up!

    This first reading was very pleasant and opens the appetite for the next ones.

  2. The Putrimaniac is a story that can haunt the reader. It’s a solid story about self-destructing. The claustrophobic atmosphere creates a good level of disturbance in the reading.

  3. A Dish of Spouse (2000) brought me immediately to mind the short story “A Very Original Dinner” by Alexander Search (Alexandre Pessoa) written in 1907, but there is no resemblance except the fact that both stories deal with the theme “cannibalism”. The big difference, in addition to the time they were written, is the way the stories are told. “A Very Original Dinner”, despite being macabre, is imbued with an excessively predictable black humour.
    In A Dish of Spouse we don’t have any surprise. Everything is offered like a hurricane, in such a realistic way that horrifies and with it becomes an unusual story, but within the limits of the real.

    A good awful story.

  4. The Girl of Wax is just plain torture because it’s wonderfully diabolic. Tolfi isn’t a very bad prince. He’s sadistic, very cruel and has an unusual idea of entertaining, but he’s a prince after all. The Girl of Wax is a very stylistic story.
    In one sentence: a very decent story with an indecent prince. That’s right I have moral values.

  5. The Tongue is a story that will make you speechless, not because it is a story of a man who lost his tongue, but because it is a hot thong story. Not the best pun, I know. (sad face…)
    Why do I like this story? Humm… for a second, let’s forget about the lack of common sense… damn this is the reason I like the story.

    The Tongue gives me great senseless fun – wow!

  6. The Skin Collector is another demented story by Brendan Connell. The story begins innocently but slowly loses in an outstanding way that sense of kindness when we feel that we are with an obsessive Professor.

  7. The Nasty Truth About Dentists is so funny and chilling that I can only stop laughing and look behind my back when I close the book – yes, I have mixed feelings.
    At first the story appears a bit silly (who’s afraid of the big bad dentist, right!), but suspense soon emerges when we know that something creepy is going on with Norma that attends a dental school. When Ron, her ex-boyfriend, becomes obsessed trying to discover what happened, the story grows in action. The many conflicts, confrontations and twists turn the story so captive, that it scares.

    Definitely not for children.

  8. Mesh of Veins is a futurist (although it can be set at the present time) and psychedelic story about body transformations. When Dee decided religiously to be more than human he began an evil path or maybe not… want to find out more? Read the story. Yes I am evil.

  9. The Cruelties oh Him is so far the most diabolical and perverse story of Brendan Connell. Not an easy one to read because Brendan knows how to create, with beautiful writing, a depressing, but real atmosphere.
    The story is agonizingly desperate, not sad. Lucky me that I find in the words a poetic tone about someone that is beyond evil and good.

    The story captures the realism of horror.

  10. I don’t like to eat liver and now even more. After I finished the story my stomach was still in a knot. Wiggles is not about pain or madness per se, but that the pain and the madness are accurately captured is true.

  11. When someone talk(write) the word “paper” I recall immediately the story “The Folded Page” by Rhys Hughes. Of course that in “The Woman of Paper” by Brendan Connel we are in a completely different narrative style. We can laugh, but not for long. We can admire a strange love story, but not forever. What we have in the end is a bitter taste of disappointment – the best dreams are sometimes nightmares.

  12. The Last of the Burroways is, again, not an easy reading. What is the goal of this story? Provide insights into the human perversity, decadence? If yes… intense and titillating drama. If no… intense and titillating drama.
    In short a story that leaves me deeply unsettled after reading.

  13. With Flit Brendan Connel it is just too extreme and this is lovely! Okay the story is outlandishly violent and bloody, but not uncomfortable… or maybe yes, but, after all, that is the point of the story.

  14. Sirens provided a consistence and a growing tension in the narrative. The end is too predictable and with this Brendan Connell manages to create a hothouse (the main character) so alive and more defiantly; one I wouldn’t want to approach. Julian and Phyllis are mere pawns and I a mere reader.

  15. Virgin Hearts is another unforgettable tale. I enjoyed the rhythm and the “telegram” style. Virgin Hearts is very, very interesting. Its weirdness will keep you up all night.

  16. We Sleep on a Thousand Waves Beneath the Stars is the last story of this anthology with a title that makes us dream of…? The title is extremely clever which can mislead the reader. We don’t have peace waves, but waves of blood.
    A story that closes a bloodthirsty anthology that I wished it wouldn’t have ended.

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