Reviews > Published on February 11th, 2016

Bookshots: 'A Collapse of Horses' by Brian Evenson

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


A Collapse of Horses

Who Wrote It?

Since finishing 'Horses,' I have read three more [Evenson books] in succession. That right there is a review in and of itself.

Macabre ex-Mormon, Brian Evenson, minimalist master of horrifying literature and literary horror. More info at his website:

Plot in a Box:

There is no box big enough to contain these seventeen stories. From sci-fi to horror to Western to relationship drama, they are nightmares, all.

Invent a New Title for This Book:

Person, Please Out of Cave, a truly creepy line from "Any Corpse," my favorite story of the collection.

Read This if You Like(d):

Dreams of dark and unsettling things. Ambiguous horror. David Lynch.

Meet the Book’s Lead(s):

Evenson's leads tend to be tabula rasae, blank slates on which we project to fully immerse ourselves in fear. Faceless men compelled by the unknown, who don't know when to turn back, or care enough about their own self-preservation to try. We, as the reader, are powerless to stop them.

Said Lead(s) Would be Portrayed in a Movie By:

In light of what I said about the book's leads, sign me up, coach. But any unfamiliar character actors would do.

Setting: Would You Want to Live There?

What was Your Favorite Sentence?

Again, from the chilling "Any Corpse":

"I don't need meat," she said. "I need a body."

"Body made of meat," the furnisher said. "So too meat made of body. Let it be written and beads exchanged."

The Verdict:

A Collapse of Horses is the first of Evenson's books I have read. Since finishing it, I have read three more, in succession. That right there is a review in and of itself.

He was one of those authors, like Steve Erickson, that I had heard so much about, and knew I would love once I got around to reading. Usually that kind of anticipation results in disaster, or at least indifference. In this case, a new writer has been inducted into my pantheon of favorites.

Coffee House Press did an ingenious thing with the ARCs of Horses. They included excerpts of the three Evenson novels they are reissuing. After finishing Horses, I read the excerpt of Father of Lies, and immediately had to purchase the whole book. Same with Last Days. By that point, I was hooked, and purchased The Open Curtain as well. So you might as well consider this a glowing review for all four books.

Coffee House Press, by the way, is a non-profit indie dedicated to publishing works that don't fit neatly into any genre's box. As their motto says: Literature is not the same thing as publishing. Their hearts are in the right place, and they deserve our support. Check 'em out.

About the author

Joshua Chaplinsky is the Managing Editor of LitReactor. He is the author of The Paradox Twins (CLASH Books), the story collection Whispers in the Ear of A Dreaming Ape, and the parody Kanye West—Reanimator. His short fiction has been published by Vice, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Thuglit, Severed Press, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, Broken River Books, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @jaceycockrobin. More info at and

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