“Michael Kelly’s characters are the lost, the misbegotten, the lonely and the damaged; and all are searching for a moment of redemption. Whether he intended it or not, the stories in this collection have been arranged not unlike the various movements in a symphony. While he references Vivaldi here, the symphony you’re about to “hear” has more in common with Gustav Mahler, as far as I’m concerned. Undertow and Other Laments left me feeling the same way I felt after first hearing Mahler’s overpowering 1st Symphony; it begins quietly, broodingly, with funereal sorrow, and continues through movements of anger, or triumph, of horror, of sadness, and, in the end, with the glorious title novella, combines all of its themes to produce a heartbreaking summation in the final passages, wherein final redemption may not have been achieved, but its presence is still nearby, somewhere, in the shadows of the human psyche and the undiscovered corners of the spirit.” – Gary Braunbeck, from his introduction “Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats”

"Michael Kelly brings all six senses alive, but he knows that senses can't always be trusted. Kelly's world is bleak and beautiful, sharp and blunt, chilling yet ultimately invigorating." – Scott Nicholson, author of Scattered Ashes, and They Hunger

“Michael Kelly's stories are small marvels.” – Craig Davidson, author Rust and Bone, and The Fighter

"Michael Kelly writes with economy, heart, and a deft, subtle hand. His emotionally flawed characters bristle with life. And whether we like it or not, he forces us to see bits of ourselves in every one of them." – Brett Alexander Savory, Author of The Distance Travelled, and In and Down.

Rate this book


Release date: 2009
Genres: horror, short stories
Updated 2010-09-23