By Rhys Hughes

Reviewed by Sue Phillips

This aptly named collection of twenty-five stories by a writer described on the back cover as both “the sum of our planet's literature” and “unique” is something of an eye opener for anyone accustomed to normality at any level. In his Modest Foreword Hughes explains that his intention in writing the stories was to disgust and shock, whilst exploring the genre of black comedy.

I would say he succeeded pretty well in several of the tales--I was particularly disgusted by The Death of Ganymede (reminded me of a depraved Edward Lear), stomach churned by The Fury Machine (Kafkaesque), disgusted by The Swiss Family Abacus and cringemakingly amused by The Crippled Gollywog's Fox Hunt. Throughout the style is literary, lyrical and, in places, completely barmy. The Skull Farmers struck me as a fairly standard horror story and Crash With Shopping Trollies so silly it could even happen on some parallel Earth. Looking through, I planned to pick out one as my favourite, but found that each time I flicked through a different one caught my eye, or hit my chuckle reflex.

If you buy this book, you will probably not enjoy every story; not every one was to my taste. If you are at all religious, no matter your faith, you will probably be offended several times and don't--DO NOT - buy this book for anyone of a nervous disposition. On the other hand, if you happen to like your literature depraved, demented and dissolute, read on.

At the Molehills of Madness by Rhys Hughes. Tpb, 200pp, £7.99. Published by Pendragon Press, PO Box 12, Maesteg, Mid Glamorgan, South Wales, CF34 0XG, United Kingdom.

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