I’ll Bring You the Birds from Out of the Sky

March 2, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

birdsI’ll Bring You the Birds from Out of the Sky by Brian Hodge


I haven’t read something by Brian Hodge in years. I discovered him back in college, when he was a part of the Dell/Abyss line of books, and he was one of those authors I would read, no questions asked. Life moved on, but I’ve always had a soft spot for him, so when I received this is a grab-bag of books from Cemetery Dance, I moved it to the top of my list.

The story is about an art dealer in New York who becomes aware of a folk artist when a young woman comes to his gallery to show him her great-grandfather’s work. The work becomes an obsession of sorts, and as he learns more about the artist through recordings and the work itself, he finds himself making a trek across the mountain to the village where the artist lived near the end of his life. There, he finds secrets that reveal the truth behind the artwork, and ones that run even deeper.

Hodge has some brilliant turns of phrase in this story:

Her inheritance of earth and trees had come down as an heirloom of love given out of spite.

If Cecil Conklin has the devil in him, he forgot where he put him.

I don’t remember these kinds of turns of phrase in his earlier works, but I might not have noticed them even if they were there. At the time, I was more interested in the horror than the writing, though I was still a stickler for a good story.

Also worthy of note is how many horror stories I’ve read this year that have been about Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, the fungus that infects and takes over control of ants. It’s shown up a few times, most notably in Caitlín R. Kiernan’s Agents of Dreamland. I suppose it’s a fashionable subject now, since it’s both real and creepy, but I like that Hodge and Kiernan approach the subject in different ways. While Kiernan makes it a cosmic kind of horror, Hodge brings it back to Earth and makes it something more benign in intention. Either way, the stories are horrifying.

It’s nice to see that Hodge still has it. I had already planned on re-tackling the Dell/Abyss books this year, and Hodge has (I think) three books in that list. I look forward to re-reading them with a fresh eye.

Started: December 24, 2017
Finished: December 24, 2017

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