Rosanne Rabinowitz's Resonance and Revolt was published by Eibonvale Press in March 2018.
Information about Rosanne Rabinowitz in her own words:
"I started writing when I produced ‘zines in the 1990s like Feminaxe and Bad Attitude, contributing articles, reviews and interviews. Then I began to make stuff up. My fiction has since found its way into anthologies and magazines and I completed a creative writing MA at Sheffield Hallam University. My novella Helen's Story was a finalist for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award for achievement in the ‘literature of the dark fantastic’. I live in South London, an area that Arthur Machen once described as "shapeless, unmeaning, dreary, dismal beyond words." In this most unshapen place I engage in a variety of occupations including care work, copywriting and freelance editing. I spend a lot of time drinking coffee and listening to loud music while looking out my tenth-floor window. Sometimes it's whisky."
Click here to visit her official website.
Information about Resonance and Revolt:
"Unfulfilled desires transmit themselves across the years in unfathomable ways..." - From Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces
A sect of sensual medieval heretics stumbles upon the secrets of quantum entanglement, a centuries-old wanderer thrives on rebellion as well as blood in the ruins of post-WWI Munich. Anti-austerity demonstrations lead to haunting connections with past and parallel events, while quantum computing meets 'welfare reform' in our near-future. Meanwhile, persecuted Jews in early 20th century Russia must decide whether extraterrestrials are allies or the schnorrers out of space.
The stories of Rosanne Rabinowitz span the centuries in a remarkable mixture of European history and the familiar world of modern Britain – as well as some all-too-likely near futures. These stories are rooted in the spirit of resistance and rebellion without ever feeling didactic. They are coloured with a sense of the fantastic, the surreal and even the mystical – rubbing shoulders with the reality that arises from every street, every shout of fury or peal of laughter, every dizzying glimpse of human possibilities.
"All together as they are here, they weave a cyclical sense of the ebb and flow of power and tyranny and resistance, yet the end result is not hopeless but quite the opposite. Just like so many of the characters in Rosanne’s writing, as we read these stories gathered in one volume, we begin to see ourselves as living with echoes of and surrounded by the past. That the struggle is ongoing does not make it seem futile; instead, we are connected, for as one character notes, “what we call time, and history, exists in layers all around us. And I should be able to see every one of them.” Reading Rosanne’s stories feels like standing in the ruins of a thousand-year-old fortress where you can almost hear the past breathing around you, or in some other liminal place: a magical wood, perhaps, but sometimes the most ordinary of city streets, where you might slip into somewhere else before you realize what’s happened." - From the Introduction by Lynda E. Rucker
"I will always raise my voice and write things down so people will know about them. I will never be like a bell without a tongue." - From The Bells of the Harelle
REVIEW: RESONANCE AND REVOLT BY ROSANNE RABINOWITZ
Rosanne Rabinowitz's Resonance and Revolt is one of the best short story collections of the year, because it's a deeply satisfying and rewarding reading experience. It's a must-read collection for everybody who loves literary and intelligent speculative fiction, because it's different, captivating and thought-provoking.
I was deeply impressed by this collection and found it utterly compelling. It's an intriguing re-imagining of what the world could be like, but it's also much more than that, because there are many layers in it. Reading it is like pealing an onion and seeing what lies behind each layer. Whether the revelations are beautiful, challenging or strange, they're always captivating and intriguing, because time and history are wonderfully intertwined in the stories. There's also insightful wittiness in the stories that adds fascination to them.
Resonance and Revolt conveys you to fascinating places and moments that exist at various times in history, but it also tells of modern Britain. Some of the stories transport you into near future scenarios and offer visions of events that might occur and possibly come into existence. The power of this collection lies in the author's success at being able to capture the spirit and the essence of the events in her thoughtful prose.
This collection contains the following stories:
- In the Pines
- Return of the Pikart Posse
- Bells of the Harelle
- The Matter of Meroz
- Survivor's Guilt
- These Boots
- The Pleasure Garden
- Living in the Vertical World
- Lambeth North
- The Colour of Water
- The Peak
- Pieces of Ourselves
- Keep Them Rollin'
- The Lady in the Yard
- Tasting the Clouds
- The Turning Track (with Mat Joiner)
All of these stories are mesmerising and well written. I enjoyed reading them, because the author writes excellent fiction and creates interesting characters. I found myself intrigued by what happened to the characters and how they reacted to things.
These stories are among the finest I've read during the recent years. What makes them especially great and enjoyable is that the author has something to say with her stories. They are not merely entertainment, but have plenty of depth and layers, and they will make you think about several things.
Here's a bit more information about the stories and my thoughts about them:
In the Pines:
- This brilliant opening story consists of three interlinking chapters. The first chapter takes place in Georgia, 1875: A woman has lost her husband who drove a train. The second chapter takes place in New Jersey, 1973: Linda, who has lost her best friend, meets people while attending a folk music festival and is invited to a party in the Pine Barrens. The third chapter takes place in Cornwall, 2015: Briony is interviewed about what she is doing now, because she was a celebrity scientist before she disappeared from public eye.
- Each of the chapters is an intriguing reading experience and adds something to the whole. Together, they form quite an amazing and unusual story.
- It was interesting to read about what was written about the Jersey Devil, because the author's way of writing about this famous creature is original.
- This story has a deep sense of sorrow and wistfulness that impressed me.
- This is one of the finest slipstream-flavoured stories I've ever read.
Return of the Pikart Posse:
- A story about Evelyn who is in Tábor doing research for her PhD and is fascinated by a woman leader of the Adamites called Maria. Evelyn has a kind of a connection to the past as if the it's reaching out to her.
- I enjoyed reading about what happened to Evelyn and Jan during the night, because the depictions of their nightly adventure were amazing and stunningly evocative.
- The erotic and magical realist atmosphere of this story fascinated me a lot. I also found the historical elements captivating.
- This is one of the best and most atmospheric slipstream stories I've ever read.
Bells of the Harelle:
- A story about Seraphine, who lives in Bohemia and writes down important things so that people will know about them. She has two lovers, Christophe and Adrian.
- The author wonderfully fleshes out the protagonist's life. She tells of what Seraphine has had to endure and what her life has been like. Her mesmerising relationship with her lovers is one of the highlights of this story, because they have their own "holy trinity".
- This a wonderfully atmospheric and well written story, because the author has an eye for details and brings the 14th century France, heresy and rioting to life with her words. The author's vision of eroticised heresy is simply amazing.
- This is one of the best stories in this collection. To be honest, it's one of the best stories I've ever had the pleasure of reading, because it's something different and compelling.
The Matter of Meroz:
- This excellent story takes place in early 20th century Russia and tells of persecuted Jews.
- It was interesting for me to read about what was written about beings from other worlds having souls and having their own versions of the sacred scrolls. I was also fascinated by what was mentioned about "the leaping of the road" and "crumpling of the sky", because they allowed their users to cross vast distances in an instant.
- I think that many readers will find this story fascinating, because it's something different and has thought-provoking elements.
- A story about a vampire, Mara, who has survived persecution by humans.
- This story is a brilliantly original take on a vampire story, because it's satisfyingly different and has quite a lot of depth. I like the author's way of gradually revealing what the protagonist is and not giving everything away at once, because it makes the story fascinating.
- The author writes intriguingly about Mara and Gunther's relationship. She also writes well about what has happened to Mara.
- I have a feeling that readers who love vampire fiction will greatly enjoy this story, because it's literary horror fiction at its best.
- A story about a woman who's going to move out of her flat and goes through her things. She finds her old boots that she hasn't worn in ages.
- This is an interesting short story.
The Pleasure Garden:
- A story about Daniel who, all of sudden, sees a man whom he met years ago at the Pleasure Garden. This brief and fleeting glance sparks an array of memories that causes Daniel to reminisce about how he met the man.
- This story was already familiar to me, because it was published in the Something Remains anthology (Alchemy Press, 2016), which contains stories based on and inspired by the notes left by Joel Lane.
- This beautifully written and erotically charged story is one of my favourite stories in this anthology.
Living in the Vertical World:
- An intriguing story about Lenore and vertical gardening.
- This futuristic story is surprisingly actual due to large vertical green walls becoming increasingly popular in shopping centres and other places.
- I enjoyed reading about what was written about plants and gardening, because I've always been interested in things related to botany and gardening.
- A story about Diane who is celebrating a move into a secure council flat after years of unstable housing. She and her friends take a look around the area around her new place.
- The déjà-vu feelings experienced by the protagonist are interesting.
- This is a well written short story that takes place in South London.
The Colour of Water:
- In this story, an albino woman, Sarah, finds an albino baby that has been abandoned in the woods.
- This story has a fascinatingly unsettling and strange atmosphere that impressed me.
- I consider this story to be one of the highlights of this collection, because it's a captivating reading experience.
- In this story, Julia is attending a demonstration with other people. The crowd surges into a building where the Tory headquarters are located.
- The voice that Julia hears in her head gives this story a cool sense of strangeness.
- I liked this story a lot and found it fascinating.
Pieces of Ourselves:
- An excellent story about Richard, a librarian, who goes to a demonstration and soon begins to suffer from a strange skin condition.
- This strange story is difficult to forget once you've read it, because you'll keep on thinking about its happenings. It develops effectively from a seemingly normal premise into full-blown weirdness.
- I was deeply impressed by this story and consider it to be one of the finest examples of modern literary strange fiction. (This kind of amazing stories are the reason why I love modern horror fiction and especially its literary and weirder side.)
Keep Them Rollin':
- In this story, Gwen interviews a customer, Wendy, and enquires about what she does. This is an intriguingly weird story about Universal Credit and quantum computing.
- The references to Daleks from Doctor Who and Rawhide's theme music are brilliant.
- This story offers readers a bit unsettling vision of the reformation of the British welfare system.
The Lady in the Yard:
- A beautifully written and atmospheric story in which the god Pan takes on female form, Panisca, and visits a girl, Suzy, in the yard of an urban apartment block. When Suzy meets the strange lady in the yard, she longs to meet her again.
- This is a follow-up story to "She Lives in the Deep", which was published in The Monster Book for Girls (The Exaggerated Press, 2012).
- I enjoyed reading about how Suzy became fascinated about Pan and wondered if there was a female Pan.
- The author's way of writing about Panisca and how she's able to travel between worlds is beautiful and mesmerising.
- This is one of the best stories about Pan I've ever had the pleasure of reading, because the author brings something new to Pan stories by writing about the connection between Suzy and Panisca.
Tasting the Clouds:
- A story about Tim and Lucy who have had an end-of-term party for their salsa dancing class.
- This is a delightfully witty story about coffee, dating and freedom.
- The author writes fascinatingly about how Tim feels about the coffee that Lucy has offered to him and what kind of an effect it has on him.
The Turning Track (with Mat Joiner):
- A wonderful slipstream story about love, death and a mysterious train.
- I was already familiar with this story, because it was originally published in the Rustblind and Silverbright anthology (Eibonvale Press, 2013).
- This is one of my favourite stories in this anthology.
One of the things that impressed me about this collection is the author's uncanny way of blending various elements with ease and moving across genres (for example, she blends history with unabashed eroticism and writes evocatively about resistance and rebellion). She effortlessly lends her stories a touch of mysticism and the fantastic without forgetting an alluring sense of surrealism.
I strongly believe that those who are familiar with the stories written by Joel Lane will come to love this collection. Although different from Lane's stories, the stories in this collection have something in common with them as if they've been touched by Lane-esque atmosphere and strangeness. I find the Lane-esque elements compelling, because the author uses them in a perfect way.
Rosanne Rabinowitz's Resonance and Revolt is a rewarding collection for everybody who loves fantastical and mesmerising stories that are something different. If you love the literary side of modern speculative fiction and enjoy strange stories, you simply can't afford to miss this impressive and outstanding collection. It's a captivating masterpiece of literary speculative fiction.