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I Would Haunt You If I Could

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I would haunt you ... The debut short story collection from Seán Padraic Birnie does indeed haunt. Sown with seeds of sorrow and grief, and imbued with disquieting bodily horrors, the tales in "I Would Haunt You If I Could" are the product of an uncanny and febrile imagination. Birnie's writing balances on the knife's edge of the horror and literary divide. Stories that I would haunt you ... The debut short story collection from Seán Padraic Birnie does indeed haunt. Sown with seeds of sorrow and grief, and imbued with disquieting bodily horrors, the tales in "I Would Haunt You If I Could" are the product of an uncanny and febrile imagination. Birnie's writing balances on the knife's edge of the horror and literary divide. Stories that cut and bleed. Stories that linger and haunt. ...if I could.


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I would haunt you ... The debut short story collection from Seán Padraic Birnie does indeed haunt. Sown with seeds of sorrow and grief, and imbued with disquieting bodily horrors, the tales in "I Would Haunt You If I Could" are the product of an uncanny and febrile imagination. Birnie's writing balances on the knife's edge of the horror and literary divide. Stories that I would haunt you ... The debut short story collection from Seán Padraic Birnie does indeed haunt. Sown with seeds of sorrow and grief, and imbued with disquieting bodily horrors, the tales in "I Would Haunt You If I Could" are the product of an uncanny and febrile imagination. Birnie's writing balances on the knife's edge of the horror and literary divide. Stories that cut and bleed. Stories that linger and haunt. ...if I could.

48 review for I Would Haunt You If I Could

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Perplexing and thought provoking webs laid for the reader, visceral and concise, with brevity at times and shorter minimalistic psychologically works leaving the reader to carry on the fiction, which can be a good thing. You may just enjoy the little portals and snapshots the author immerses you into with splendid channelling of things in our inner and outer realm with these little frames of lives, complexities, ones with grief, humour and nostalgia, lost and found souls, peculiarities and fractu Perplexing and thought provoking webs laid for the reader, visceral and concise, with brevity at times and shorter minimalistic psychologically works leaving the reader to carry on the fiction, which can be a good thing. You may just enjoy the little portals and snapshots the author immerses you into with splendid channelling of things in our inner and outer realm with these little frames of lives, complexities, ones with grief, humour and nostalgia, lost and found souls, peculiarities and fractured minds, with perplexing and haunting disquieting minutes that get under your skin. This a first collection of the authors and leaves hope of many works to look forward to read next. Check out breakdown of selected stories and excerpts only @ https://more2read.com/review/i-would-haunt-you-if-i-could-by-sean-padraic-birnie/

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    I first came across the work of Seán Padraic Birnie in the eighth instalment of Michael Kelly’s anthology of weird fiction Shadows and Tall Trees. Dollface, his contribution to that volume, features an apparently evil or cursed doll, a clear nod to a common trope of contemporary horror fiction. Yet, Birnie is less interested in the scares, than in the web of relationships between the narrator and his neighbour and their respective families. There is, throughout the story, a feeling of a rather d I first came across the work of Seán Padraic Birnie in the eighth instalment of Michael Kelly’s anthology of weird fiction Shadows and Tall Trees. Dollface, his contribution to that volume, features an apparently evil or cursed doll, a clear nod to a common trope of contemporary horror fiction. Yet, Birnie is less interested in the scares, than in the web of relationships between the narrator and his neighbour and their respective families. There is, throughout the story, a feeling of a rather drab normality going askew, a sense that something is disturbingly “off”, a flavour of ambiguity which invites readers to draw their own conclusions. Dollface returns in I would Haunt You if I Could, Birnie’s debut collection of short stories issued this month by Canadian independent press Undertow Publications. Although the volume includes stories which have previously been in print, most of the tales are new to this collection. And they’re brilliant. Birnie’s are unsettling stories which, as in Dollface, sometimes refer to or make use of established horror tropes, only to subvert them and create something new and more peculiar. Some examples… Out of the Blue features a father who comes back from the dead. But he’s neither a ghost nor a vampire, but just an ever-present, unspeaking presence – like a metaphor taking a solid shape. Other Houses is a “slipstream” story with elements of the haunted house and timeslip genres – but, again, the emphasis seems to be more on toxic familial relationships than on the supernatural/weird aspects of the tale. The horror element in Hand Me Down is a cursed baby monitor – but are we to take this literally or is the story a literary representation of post-natal depression? This sense of ambiguity, as well as the “familial” context, runs like a thread through all the collection, including the longish title piece I Would Haunt You if I Could, whose narrator is coming to terms with grief caused by the death of a father and the ending of a relationship… and with a rediscovered telekinetic or telepathic gift. Some of the stories are more conceptual – I’m thinking, for instance of Sisters, in which the protagonist creates – and gives life to – a copy of a dead sister. Or Holes and New to It All both of which use body horror in fresh, original – and very disturbing – ways. What most strikes me about this collection of fourteen stories is the beauty and mastery of language found therein, worthy of the best fiction irrespective of style or genre. https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/20...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Becky Spratford

    Review in the April 2021 issue of Library Journal: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?revie... And on the bloig [link live 4/5/21]: https://raforall.blogspot.com/2021/04... Three Words That Describe This Book: terrifyingly mundane, character driven, disorienting. Draft Review: Birnie, Sean Padraic. I Would Haunt You If I Could [debut collection] A solid debut story collection by British author Birnie containing 14 stories, 8 of which are original to this volume, presents Padaric as a promising new voice Review in the April 2021 issue of Library Journal: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?revie... And on the bloig [link live 4/5/21]: https://raforall.blogspot.com/2021/04... Three Words That Describe This Book: terrifyingly mundane, character driven, disorienting. Draft Review: Birnie, Sean Padraic. I Would Haunt You If I Could [debut collection] A solid debut story collection by British author Birnie containing 14 stories, 8 of which are original to this volume, presents Padaric as a promising new voice in the genre. The fear in these stories is character, not action, driven, tending to focus on familial relationships, with an intense sense of setting a visual stage, expertly informed by the author’s background in photography. However, the most striking thing about these tales is how mundanely the terror begins. This is horror that has every day beginnings, making the reading experience so much more enjoyably haunting and disorienting than readers will expect upon first entering this volume. “Out of the Blue, “Hand Me Down” and “Other Houses” are stellar examples of how the author contemplates normal family situations that begin weird and unsettling, moving into a terror readers will intimately feel before the story’s conclusion. Verdict: Filled with thought provoking, character driven, psychologically horrific tales that veer slightly and satisfyingly into the weird, this is a collection that is reminiscent of the deeply unsettling and disorienting worlds of Samanta Schweblin and Dan Chaon or the backlist gem,Travelers Rest by Keith Lee Morris. A solid debut story collection. Some were amazing, others fine, none bad. Promising voice that I would like to see more from. More than half of the stories are original to the collection. These are thought provoking, character centered psychological horror stories that veer into the weird. Many focus on familial relationships. I was struck by how the horror begins so mundanely. It is a word I wrote multiple times as I took notes. And the fact that the horror has such normal, every day beginnings makes it all so much more haunting and disorienting. Everything is just tipped over the dark edge of "normal." The story and the fear are all character driven. Fav stories: "Out of the Blue" near beginning hooked me into the collection. dad comes back from the dead and just stays. Not menacing, not smelly. Just stays. "Hand Me Down" was a terrifying new mother story involving a haunted baby monitor, but again, it is a mundane and subtle haunting. "I Told You Not to Go" is short but is also the perfect example of the feel of these stories. A longer one, "Other Houses" at the end was originally and very creepy-- a family. barely held together through a house, where multiple realities exists at the same time. Readalikes: Samanta Schweblin for sure. Also Dan Chaon. The collection as a whole remind my of the novel Travelers Rest, a backlist favorite of mine. Same feel. mundane situation causing terror, with just the right touch of the weird.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Sean Padraic Birnie’s first collection is really good and the mixture of shorter and longer stories very welcome. Doll Face, Out of the Blue, Company and Other Houses were faves. The descriptions of feeling disconnected from reality in ‘Other Houses’ were almost uncomfortably resonant for me and it’s probably one of my fave stories I’ve read this year. As usual ratings below. - Sister (7) - Out of the Blue (8) - Other Houses (9) - The Turn (6) - Lucida (4) - Doll Face (8) - New to it All (7) - Like a Z Sean Padraic Birnie’s first collection is really good and the mixture of shorter and longer stories very welcome. Doll Face, Out of the Blue, Company and Other Houses were faves. The descriptions of feeling disconnected from reality in ‘Other Houses’ were almost uncomfortably resonant for me and it’s probably one of my fave stories I’ve read this year. As usual ratings below. - Sister (7) - Out of the Blue (8) - Other Houses (9) - The Turn (6) - Lucida (4) - Doll Face (8) - New to it All (7) - Like a Zip (7) - Hand Me Down (7) - Holes (7) - Company (8) - I Told You Not to Go (7) - You Know What to Do (7) - I Would Haunt You if I Could (8)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Danny Benoit

    Right from the very first story, I realized this book to be a great revelation of the weird. Leaving me apprehensive and yet elated for more. Visiting the inner workings of one's mind, and discovering the machinations at work when the mind needs to decipher if rather its world is wrong or if its wrong in its self. The decisions we make when faced with the unusual and weird. Just another day, or another page, in "I Would Haunt You If I Could". This debut short story collection from Sean Padraic Bi Right from the very first story, I realized this book to be a great revelation of the weird. Leaving me apprehensive and yet elated for more. Visiting the inner workings of one's mind, and discovering the machinations at work when the mind needs to decipher if rather its world is wrong or if its wrong in its self. The decisions we make when faced with the unusual and weird. Just another day, or another page, in "I Would Haunt You If I Could". This debut short story collection from Sean Padraic Birnie includes never seen before weird fiction, followed by a handful of previously published titles in such works as; Shadows and Tall Trees by Michael Kelly, Black Static by Andy Cox, and Oculus Sinister by CM Muller. A professional photographer and writer, Sean Padraic Birnie, is a natural artist. "I Would Haunt You If I Could", published by Undertow Publication in both Paperback and Limited Deluxe Hardcover Editions, is a great success. I'm especially fond of the following stories; "New to it all" A new girlfriend, new fetish. Extreme biting for pleasure, but when is it too far. "Out of the blue" A return of a loved one, hollowed out of life but back from the dead none the less. Now a family secret is hidden away. "Hand me down" Danny seems to be losing her mind and her brother is nowhere to be found. And an ending with a perfect twist. "I told you to go" An old couple watching tv. The story begins with tragedy as well as ends with it. Romantic in its own way. "Sister" A family distraught with loss. A sister motivated to change that. "Other houses" Lady seems to remember a staircase no one else can. A camera is full of pictures of what seems to be a different world of truths. I wasn't able to get into a few of the shorter titles, such as; The Turn, Holes, and Lucida. Overall a great read and I couldn't put this one down. I'll be impatiently waiting for this author's next publication. I was given an advance reading copy of this book for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Justin Lewis

    "Something about the building seemed to inspire such modifications, as if it was never quite right, never quite made sense, but was always on the cusp of doing so—if you only changed this one small thing. And there was always that one small thing." ~ OTHER HOUSES That quote is from the last story in the book, and it perfectly sums up my feeling towards this collection. While these tales are quiet and intimate, they're also off kilter and ambiguous. You don't get to know the rules ahead of time an "Something about the building seemed to inspire such modifications, as if it was never quite right, never quite made sense, but was always on the cusp of doing so—if you only changed this one small thing. And there was always that one small thing." ~ OTHER HOUSES That quote is from the last story in the book, and it perfectly sums up my feeling towards this collection. While these tales are quiet and intimate, they're also off kilter and ambiguous. You don't get to know the rules ahead of time and you probably won't know them by the end. You'll think you know what's happening and you have to run with it because this book will never tell you differently. It's like reading while off-balance. A few of the stories that stuck out to me (keeping this as vague as possible): OUT OF THE BLUE - A man's father comes home to "live" with his family. I WOULD HAUNT YOU IF I COULD - A woman is struggling after her father dies and her relationship ends. She learns more about her family and herself while coping. YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO - A couple buys a new home from a highly motivated seller. There's a door in the cupboard. OTHER HOUSES - A woman loses her father and isn't sure why she's the only one that remembers an event. This isn't an easy read. It falls between literary horror and something else...not sure what exactly. It's beautifully written, with meaningful phrases repeated for effect. Just know that it is the opposite of straightforward. You'll be thinking about what you read and likely flipping back through the story to see if you missed something. You probably didn't, that's just the way these stories are. Though challenging and maybe a little frustrating at times, I never wanted to give up on it. I found it to be a rewarding reading experience and look forward to what Seán Padraic Birnie puts out next. 4/5 stars * I was given an ebook ARC for review by the publisher

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Pyles

    Review forthcoming.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Des Lewis

    It seems sacrilegious to even think that I might be able to do justice to such a major reading experience with an attempted summary, let alone the creation, as is my usual wont, of connections with the rest of this set of fictions. So be it, for the very first time since I started book reviewing, I won’t do any of this. The detailed review of this book posted elsewhere under my name is too long or impractical to post here. Above is one of its observations.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Heather Miller -- Quaint and Curious Volumes

    'Can the living haunt?' Sean Padraic Birnie asks this question in his debut short story collection, and the answer, most assuredly, must be yes, because my mind is currently being haunted by the words of a man very much (at least I think so) alive. 'I Would Haunt You if I Could' offers fourteen short stories, from ghost stories to body horror to surrealist descents-into-madness. From the utterly cringeworthy 'Like a Zip' to he curiousness of 'Out of the Blue', from the creeping fear of 'The Turn' t 'Can the living haunt?' Sean Padraic Birnie asks this question in his debut short story collection, and the answer, most assuredly, must be yes, because my mind is currently being haunted by the words of a man very much (at least I think so) alive. 'I Would Haunt You if I Could' offers fourteen short stories, from ghost stories to body horror to surrealist descents-into-madness. From the utterly cringeworthy 'Like a Zip' to he curiousness of 'Out of the Blue', from the creeping fear of 'The Turn' to the sadness of 'Sister', these tales will take your emotions on a ride into places dark and damp, bloody and bizarre, hidden and haunted. Atmospheric and at times downright grotesque, this collection has a little something for everyone and shows that Birnie is one to watch.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Logan Noble

    A short story collection teeming with unreal pathways and dense stacks of horror prose. This is a quiet horror collection, but each piece feeds into the next until the whispers become to loud to ignore.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adam Carter

    Every story in this collection impresses. Absolute personal standouts were 'Out of the Blue', the title story itself, 'I Would Haunt You if I Could', as well as 'Lucida', as I am a sucker for haunted film/photo/camera fiction. Highly recommended. Every story in this collection impresses. Absolute personal standouts were 'Out of the Blue', the title story itself, 'I Would Haunt You if I Could', as well as 'Lucida', as I am a sucker for haunted film/photo/camera fiction. Highly recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Blanchet

  13. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eric Nash

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cesare Teutonico

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joe Scipione

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christi Nogle

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nancy J. Steen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joey

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eric Raglin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul O'Neill

  25. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Janson

  26. 4 out of 5

    Scott Murray

  27. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jacquesworth

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Nowark

  30. 5 out of 5

    StarMarie2529

  31. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Santos

  32. 5 out of 5

    sonic_hedgehog

  33. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  34. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

  35. 4 out of 5

    Janie C.

  36. 5 out of 5

    Hatchet Mouth

  37. 5 out of 5

    Danni

  38. 5 out of 5

    Christian

  39. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Pidhayny

  40. 5 out of 5

    Louise

  41. 4 out of 5

    José Ángel de Dios

  42. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  43. 5 out of 5

    Katie Stroble

  44. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Hogmire

  45. 4 out of 5

    Poetniknowit

  46. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  47. 5 out of 5

    Saul Walt

  48. 5 out of 5

    Ashok Banker

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