Written by: Myra Gabor
Some of us want to hide. We feel that we are so different from what society considers the norm that we do not want to stand out in any way. “Lamia Dance” tells that story. (A lamia has the head and upper torso of a woman, the body of a snake and devours children and/or men). In this story, an unnamed person wants to remain invisible. You know that events will conspire to put this desire to the test.
Some of us have a terror of not being noticed, of being the invisible person in a crowd. If we do disappear, will anyone pay attention? “Never Noticed, Never There” – is a story of people who do disappear without anyone noticing. Except for Tom, a graphic arts student. Tom realizes that he’s never actually seen anything – he can’t even draw from memory the path he uses every day. So he decides to notice things. And slowly but surely he notices too many things – like people no one else can see.
The other stories, “Shadows in the Sunrise”, “Who Would Remain”, “When the Echo Hates the Voice”, “The Weight of Its Awareness” and “Vast Impatience of the Night”, all play on this theme, of being alone even when among other people. Hope no one is offended, but in Canada in the middle of winter, which is where and when all these stories are set, it becomes very easy to think that you are the only person left alive, or at least left aware.
Each character is different. Each has his own story to tell and the book catches you from the first sentence. Take a deep breath. The stories are marvelously fresh. Some of them are absolutely chilling. That’s not a pun, even though the stories are set in winter. They make us a little afraid to turn the page and see what’s coming next.
Having said that, let me just say that the stories are also all a little depressing. They’re all set in Canada in the dead of winter. Any hope the characters have of seeing spring arrive is soon shattered by illusion. Due to the down feeling these stories left me with, I couldn’t give it a higher rating.