Title: Priceless Treasures and Ghastly: A Slight Collection of Hallowe’en Tales and Miscellanea
Author: Thomas Olivieri
Published: October 25, 2016
Blurb: THESE days, Hallowe’en is a night of ghosts, celebrated by people who can longer believe in them, a day of tricks, treats, and twilight. A night when — sanctioned by custom — the proudest and most willful child politely begs for candy at strangers’ doors and the most docile child transforms in a monster. It is a day to celebrate neither the carven pumpkin nor the illuminating candle, but rather the shadows that they cast, and the unseen things that flit about them. Perhaps it won’t be this way for long — it is becoming increasingly commercialized and is losing its uncanniness as it moves away from the days of All Hallows and All Souls — but it promises to remain so for a while yet. The night of ghouls, the night of saints, and the night of penitents make an uncomfortable arc — they stand for three aspects of life that don’t fit in very well our society anymore, but will always remain part of us. The stories, poems, commentary, and images in this slight collection have been designed to return you to those strange old times. They are not particularly horrific or terrifying — rather, they are uneasy, uncanny, and gently unsettling, harkening back to the folklore of fairies and saints, knights and dragons, mead halls and castles, masquerades and Hallow-Mass gatherings. We hope that you find them whimsical and off-beat. We hope that you find them unusual and bizarre. We hope that you have a Happy Hallowe’en
My Take: This was a great little collection of flash fiction and poetry that revolves around a Halloween theme. Each addition in this volume, whether written or illustrated, helps to add to the theme that seeps through the collection. It is definitely a fitting volume to be read during the month of October, something I was unfortunately unable to do. However, it really evokes the holiday’s theme well.
As with every collection, some stories really shine more than others based upon each individual’s taste. They are all great to read and interesting in their own way. There are some darker tales, such as “Snakes and Cigarettes”, and there are those which dip into genre fiction, such as “Kings and Saints and Knights”. With such a small volume, and the short length of each inclusion, you will find yourself flipping the pages quickly until you reach the end. In fact, the biggest complaint I had was that it ended far too soon. A longer piece, or a few more shorter pieces, would have been a welcome inclusion.
This is definitely a volume worth reading through, and Thomas Olivieri is an author worth keeping your eye on. I am confident more great fiction will appear under his name in the future.