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Book Review

Book Cover

Defeated Dogs


Author: Quentin S Crisp
Publisher: Eibonvale
RRP: £9.99, US $14.95
ISBN: 978 1 908125 20 0
Publication Date: 04 July 2013

Defeated Dogs (314 pages) is a collection of short stories, written by Quentin S. Crisp, not to be confused with the unconventional Englishman in New York. This is another of his collection of short stories, following on from Morbid Tales (2003) and All God's Angels, Beware! (2009), among others.

It’s an eclectic mix of stories, some self-evidently influenced by the two times he lived in Japan, especially one of the longer stories in the collection, Sado-ga-shima, this influence breaks through in many of the others as well.

The writing has a diaphanous dreamlike quality, blurring the lines between the real and the fantastical, the hidden inner world and an uncertain outer reality. Here you will spend your time with gay wolves and little girls who may, or may not, be able to create or destroy through the power of belief.

Often the stories play with the reader's perceptions, place, time and people blend to create a greater whole. The first story in the book, The Fairy Killer, is a classic example of a story which has a number of meanings, a single line in the story changes the whole perspective, bringing into doubt the original straight forward explanation of the story as fantasy. The single line opens up the option for the story to actually be more macabre in nature. Crisp rarely provides answers, the interpretation for most of the stories lies with the reader.

Elegant in their construction Crisp morphs his style to suit the story, but even with these changes the stories remain entertainingly thought provoking.


Charles Packer

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