2009 British Fantasy Award Winner for Best Collection
The twenty-one stories collected in Bull Running for Girls are widely varied, both in setting and subject. From small town life in Madison County to the dangers of bull running in Pamplona, the stories seem, at first blush, unrelated. They are bound, however, by Allyson Bird’s strength. She is a remarkable woman, the stories collected here as personal as they are unsettling. The atmosphere, the tone and mood invoked by the author aside – it is the humanity at the heart of each tale that is so disquieting.
‘Allyson Bird is a rare bird indeed. An original voice in a world of plain vanilla. She rides some dark waves with grace and a heart full of light and shadow. If there’s any justice, she’s on her way to real recognition.’ –
Joe R. Lansdale.
‘Allyson Bird’s stories are richly informed by folklore and literature, and use a range of weird fiction narratives to explore female perspectives in terms of the unknown and the supernatural. Bull Running For Girls is reminiscent of both the Gothic fantasies of Tanith Lee and the empathic ghost stories of Mary Elizabeth Counselman. The strangest of Bird’s stories, ‘The Caul Bearer’, also recalls the stark emotional landscape of Robert E. Howard’s classic ‘Sea Curse’. For Bird, the supernatural is an aspect of life, not something from outside it. Her ghosts and demons are as likely to have a stake in our world as in their own withered hearts. This book brings you witches, revenants, mummies, spirit mediums and ritual murderers. Above all, it brings you face to face with real human issues that few of us, however we pass through the night, can safely avoid.’ – Joel Lane.
‘Bird’s classical influences are evident; her pieces owe much to the likes of Poe, Le Fanu, Machen, and Jackson — as much is referenced throughout her narratives and the excerpts preceding each tale. She exhibits a fascination with regional legends, fairy tales, and ghosts. Her renovation of traditional weird tropes reminds me of Matt Cardin, and Don Tumasonis — contemporary authors who cleave to the classical vein without resorting to pastiche. The Tumasonis comparison may be the most striking in that he and Bird seem chiefly concerned with a quiet, almost prosaic type of horror; the horror of psychological dislocation and alienation. Tumasonis demonstrates this most profoundly when examining relationships between the protagonist and his/her significant other, and the isolation experienced by the protagonist as a stranger in a strange land. While Bird similarly gives us a veritable travelogue of settings and a substantial dose of supernatural intrusion, her protagonists are often most thoroughly afflicted by personal demons, as much victims of their own pathology as they are of external forces, becoming, like as not, strangers in their own skin.There’s a great deal to love about Bull Running for Girls, not the least of this being its promise that we’ve only seen the beginning of a remarkable career.’ – Laird Barron.
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Author: Allyson Bird
Publication Date: December 13, 2013
Paperback: $15.95 plus $3.00 shipping, handling and sales tax. Total Price $18.95
Print Length: 242 Pages