One Bloody Thing After Anotherby Joey Comeau
Jackie has a map of the city on the wall of her bedroom, with a green pin for each of her trees. She has a first-kiss tree and a broken-arm tree. She has a car-accident tree. There is a tree at the hospital where Jackie’s mother passed away into the long good night. When one of them gets cut down, Jackie doesn’t know what to do but she doesn’t… See more details below
Jackie has a map of the city on the wall of her bedroom, with a green pin for each of her trees. She has a first-kiss tree and a broken-arm tree. She has a car-accident tree. There is a tree at the hospital where Jackie’s mother passed away into the long good night. When one of them gets cut down, Jackie doesn’t know what to do but she doesn’t let that stop her. She picks up the biggest rock she can carry and puts it through the window of a car. Smash. She intends to leave before the police arrive, but they’re early. Ann is Jackie’s best friend, but she’s got problems of her own. Her mother is chained up in the basement. How do you bring that up in casual conversation? “Oh, sorry I’ve been so distant, Jackie. My mother has more teeth than she’s supposed to, and she won’t eat anything that’s already dead.” Ann and her sister Margaret don’t have much of a choice here. Their mother needs to be fed. It isn’t easy but this is family. It’s not supposed to be easy. It’ll be okay as long as Margaret and Ann still have each other. Add in a cantankerous old man, his powerfully stupid dog, a headless ghost, a lesbian crush and a few unsettling visits from Jackie’s own dead mother, and you’ll find that One Bloody Thing After Another is a different sort of horror novel from the ones you’re used to. It’s as sad and funny as it is frightening, and it is as much about the way families rely on each other as it is about blood being drooled on the carpet. Though, to be honest, there is a lot of blood being drooled on the carpet.
Comeau never trivializes his characters' emotions, and it's what carries the novel from first bloody page to last.
This is a remarkably tender novel. . . . Quirky to a marvelous fault, Comeau's fourth book is an intricate exercise in offbeat storytelling.
"[Comeau] turns his adaptable talents to overt horror in this oddly touching novel of ghosts, friendship, bloody secrets, and family relationships. . . . A staccato structure allows for surprising intricacy in so few pages, and the crescendos of terror are leavened by moments of unexpected humor and warmth." Publishers Weekly
"The tone is poignant, sometimes wistful, and deadpan funny . . . The novel is more eccentric than gory, and what’s really shocking about it is that all the mayhem is finally about family ties, both severed and reconnected." Booklist
"Pilkey is a lively writer who manages over 230-plus pages to build a vivid sense of cop culture" Toronto Sun
"The gore and supernatural elements are a fitting complement to [Comeau's] characteristic blend of pathos and black humour." Quill & Quire
"Comeau isn’t writing for suspense. Dealing with a zombie mother is treated with the same tone as Jackie’s confusion and struggle over her love for Ann . . . The real monster tormenting Comeau’s characters is the desire for something they can’t have and the reluctance to accept what they do." Telegraph-Journal
"Comeau never trivializes his characters' emotions, and it's what carries the novel from first bloody page to last." Coast
"This is a remarkably tender novel. . . . Quirky to a marvelous fault, Comeau's fourth book is an intricate exercise in offbeat storytelling." Q Syndicate
"A really fascinating tale . . . the sort of book that Edgar Allan Poe might have enjoyed." Scene Magazine
- ECW Press
- Publication date:
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Read an Excerpt
The window in the upstairs hallway is open. No wonder it was so cold last night. Ann slides it closed, hard, and goes down to the kitchen. There’s a bowl of cereal laid out for her breakfast, and Ann’s younger sister Margaret is already shoveling food into her face. Milk dribbles down Margaret’s chin. There’s cereal all over the tabletop.
“You’re disgusting,” Ann says. “Your friends will wait for you, you know. You don’t have to choke it down like that.”
“Hey, go slow,” their mother says, coming into the kitchen. She’s dressed up, in a gray–and–white suit, and she twirls once for her daughters. “What do you think?” she says. “Professional? Hire–able? Is the red scarf too much?”
“You look great, Mom,” Ann tells her. Margaret just keeps eating. Their mother bends down to get something from the floor. It’s a couple seconds before Ann realizes that her mother hasn’t come up again. She leans over, and sees that her mom wasn’t picking something up at all. She’s crouched down, holding a hand to her throat.
“Are you okay?” Ann says.
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine, Ann.” Her mother clears her throat. “Sorry. I just have something… .” she clears her throat again louder, and then stands up, smiling. She clears her throat again. Then again.
Even Margaret is looking up from her cereal. Their mother coughs. And then she coughs harder. There’s a bit of blood on her lips now.
“Wish me luck today!” she says.
Ann’s mother was perfectly qualified, but her interview did not go well. Afterward, she ran out of the conference room holding her red scarf over her mouth, leaving two men, Jeff and Alex, sitting in silence for a long time.
Between the two of them they have interviewed thousands of men and women for various jobs. It has never before gone so ridiculously badly. They’re just sitting there. They should clean this up and call the next applicant. They’re on a schedule, after all. But instead they sit in silence.
Alex looks at the door where she ran out, and then he looks at the wet, bloody chunk of god–knows–what sitting on the table in front of them. The thing she coughed up, partway through the interview. That poor woman.
“That did not go well,” Jeff says.
He can joke because none of the blood landed on him.
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