Halfway Down The Stairs

Halfway Down The Stairs

by Gary A. Braunbeck

Paperback

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942712596
Publisher: JournalStone
Publication date: 12/04/2015
Pages: 576
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.28(d)

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Halfway Down The Stairs 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Carine Engelbrecht for Readers' Favorite With Halfway Down the Stairs, Gary A. Braunbeck gifts readers with a dense, darkly brilliant collection of tales that amplify the many secret voices of the heart. Unspoken fears grow fangs and form, until they must be let out to consume the hapless protagonist in large chomps (Chow Hound), ambush him with future tragedies (Just Out of Reach) or maroon him amidst the grim realities of a terribly bleak present (We Pause Now for Station Identification). Many of the stories take place in Cedar Hill, a setting that will be unnervingly familiar to the author's regular fans. Blue collar dads and their harsh, painful relationships with their sons form a recurrent theme. The book is divided into three sections and each story of the second section is introduced by a "ring master" - a fellow author who has in some way been touched by Braunbeck's work. The devil's in the details, so the saying goes, and Gary A. Braunbeck raises a horde of devils, ghosts and other monstrosities by paying attention to detail in his collection, Halfway Down the Stairs. By highlighting the minutest elements, he finds horror in everyday neglect and between the lines of cliched sayings used to justify cruelty. True, there are real old school monsters (Curtain Call) and depraved scientists (Patience), but with many of his damaged characters, their horrible afflictions, whether real or imaginary, are rooted firmly in the injustices and war wounds of our world - 'A Little Off the Top' and 'Ungrateful Places' are particularly good examples of this. Yet, he never skimps on compassion for the victims or villains that people his stories. A favorite technique of his is the truly telling stream of consciousness. He dissects character with a mastery not unlike that of King or Barker, instinctively homing in on those secret, hidden shadows that most clearly define a person.
ReadingFury More than 1 year ago
“Have you ever asked anyone. . . if anything you do or say or hope or strive for or dream or regret ultimately matters, or is it all just some protracted, contemptuous, obscene delusion?” – From Halfway Down the Stairs This collection of short stories by Gary Braunbeck creates terror, rage, and disgust for sure, but many of the stories also cause us to examine what we believe we understand about the impact of words, action, thought, and observation. The stories create a hyperawareness of life, wretchedness, and joy, and whether any of it really matters. Specifically, these stories call upon us to consider how we create the world in which we live, knowingly and unknowingly. A witness feels rage against the evil characters but worries more about how her hair looks when the media crew arrives to film the latest news horror. The book displays Braunbeck’s chameleon style—at times, you think you really are reading Stephen King, and at others, you find yourself in Victorian prose. The book is blocked in three sections, with the second section’s stories provided with introductions written by friends and authors. There are campfire ghost stories, modern cyber stories, and more. While not every story is of equal merit, there are some that are real stand-outs. Be careful because many of these stories have graphic and disturbing imagery. I admit that I glossed some because they were too much for me. For those prone to seizing and grinding upon what is worst in society and humankind, don’t read this book because the subtle, embedded presence of agape, philia, and storge will be lost. But if you can handle graphic literature that stops you in your daily tracks, read Halfway Down the Stairs with care and consideration. And remember that what should worry us most are not the stories themselves but what they show about our world.