What exactly is the difference between a love letter and a suicide note? Is there really any difference at all? These might be the questions posed by Dear Sweet Filthy World, Caitlin R. Kiernan’s fourteenth collection of short fiction, comprised of twenty-eight uncollected and impossible-to-find stories.
This is my first experience with Kiernan’s work. It was kind of hard making my way through this collection of twenty-eight short stories. Several of the stories were similar. The formula of the stories felt the same. Some of the writing felt out of my league, given the terminology for some of the subject matter. I had to grab a thesaurus on a couple of stories because I couldn’t grasp the scientific terms being used.
With that being said, there are some great stories in this collection. Werewolf Smile, The Carnival is Dead and Gone, The Eighth Veil, and Interstate Lovesong (Murder Ballad No. 8) are just a few of my favorites. The stories touch on the strange, bizarre, erotic, and disturbing.
The writing is lyrical… sometimes too lyrical, making for a dull reading experience. I read one or two short stories at a time so that I wouldn’t burn out on the collection.