There are times when you need to break from the everyday concerns, and escape into enjoyable reading. Fictional stories can provide temporary relief from the difficult reality we deal with day to day.
The Stuff of Dreams: The Weird Stories of Edward Lucas White, 2016, Dover Publications, 213 pages, paper bound. Price: $9.95 in the US.
Our rating: 5 stars. A good, enjoyable read by a competent, but forgotten writer.
This book is a collection of 10 of White’s short stories, plus 2 short poems and a brief commentary by White on dreams. There is a good introduction to the author and the stories by S. T. Joshi. The book is classified as Fiction/Horror, but the subtitle alluding to weird stories is perhaps more accurate, and there are elements of mystery in several stories. As with any collection or anthology, there are some real gems included along with a few average or passable stories.
Edward Lucas White (American, 1866 – 1934) is an author that I had not heard of before. He was a contemporary of Robert Chambers, another author of enchanting fiction, whose works have been brought back by the above publisher. As the author himself admitted during his life, many of his short stories were inspired by the vivid and intense dreams he frequently had during his childhood and adult years.
The stories were enjoyable to read and I found a few of these really engrossing as they draw the reader in albeit after a few to several pages . White was influenced by Poe’s work and White’s prose in some of these short stories does remind one of Poe’s prose and style in Poe’s only full length (complete) novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838). Some stories are written in the first person, while others are written in the third person.
Of various lengths, among these stories, we found the most intriguing to be: The House of The Nightmare, The Flambeau Bracket, The Message on The Slate, The Pig-Skin Belt, The Song of The Sirens, The Picture Puzzle, and The Snout. The remaining 3 stories were worth reading: Amina, Lukundoo, and Sorcery Island.
A synopsis of each story is not included here in this review as that would tend to spoil the stories for the prospective reader. For those interested, such summaries of each story can be found elsewhere online.
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On Dover Publications (where book is also available as an ebook):
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