Alabaster (Subterranean Press)

PUBLISHER: Subterranean Press
EDITION: Signed Second Edition Hardcover
PRICE: $40
STATUS: In-Stock!

Dust jacket and interior illustrations by Ted Naifeh

An albino girl wanders the sun-scorched backroads of a south Georgia summer, following the bidding of an angel or perhaps only voices in her head, searching out and slaying ancient monsters who have hidden themselves away in the lonely places of the world. Caitlín R. Kiernan first introduced Dancy in the pages of her award-winning second novel, Threshold(2001), then went on to write several more short stories and a novella about this unlikely heroine, each a piece of what has become an epic dark fantasy narrative. Alabaster finally collects all these tales into one volume, illustrated by Ted Naifeh (Gloomcookie, How Loathsome, Courtney Crumrin, Polly and the Pirates, etc.).

Second Hardcover Edition: Sewn cloth hardcover, in dust jacket, signed by the author

Table of Contents:

  • Author’s Preface
  • “Le Fleurs Empoisonnées” (originally published as In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers)
  • The Well of Stars and Shadow
  • Waycross
  • Alabaster
  • Bainbridge
  • Highway 97
  • Afterword: On the Road to Jefferson

From Gahan Wilson, in Realms of Fantasy Magazine:
“There’s no one quite like her in folding and unfolding characters in a sort of origami fashion so that they surprise you again and again, but always logically no matter how bizarrely; there are very few who can transport you via deft, strange spells from scene to scene as smoothly and gracefully, sliding open secret panels, turning reliable-seeming staircases into carnival slides, and dropping you suddenly through trap doors.”

From Publishers Weekly:
“Dancy Flammarion, an albino adolescent who speaks to angels and slays monsters in human guise in the backwoods of contemporary Georgia, is the heroine of the five interlocking stories that make up this eerie dark fantasy collection… Kiernan imbues the tales with disquieting gothic imagery and envelops them in rich, evocative prose that conveys cohesiveness beyond their fragmentary plots.”

From Locus Magazine:
“Dancy stands, a bit uncomfortably, in a long line of monster-hunting characters, walking the Earth and dispatching creatures of ancient evil, but Kiernan twists the conventions hard. First, Dancy is young, naive about human society (having grown up isolated in a Florida swamp), and visited often by a terrifying angel. She gets no satisfaction out of killing monsters. First, she killed to survive. Later, she killed because it seemed the only life open to her, and because her angel would not permit her to do otherwise. It’s not a question of duty, or responsibility, but of necessity. She is more Joan of Arc than Solomon Kane… “Bainbridge,” an original novelette, is a tour de force, alternating three storylines: Dancy’s assault on a desecrated church that houses monsters; the story of Dancy’s mother and her youthful attempt to commit suicide to escape the demands of her own angel; and sections set in the dark fantasy otherworld of Kiernan’s novel Murder of Angels, which obliquely relates to the other threads.

“It might seem a bit early to review a book not due until September, but I hear the $45 limited edition — which will include a chapbook with a new story — is close to selling out, so pre-order while you can. Ted Naifeh’s illustrations are suitably creepy, and his wraparound cover, Dancy, alone, menaced by monsters — is marvelous.”

From Booklist:
“Kiernan’s richly evocative prose vividly portrays her twisted characters as well as it illustrates their eerie, kudzu-infested, Deep South surroundings.”

From Bookslut:
“With her latest collection, Caitlin Kiernan proves that she knows how to write a damn fine story about the scariest parts of everything that lives and breathes down those long dark southern roads… Kiernan makes us see just how painful a job it is for her teenage hero, just how ugly and nasty being a savior can be.”