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Author J.J.Brown was born in the Catskill Mountain region of New York and has lived in New York City for two decades. She has published novels, short stories and poems. J.J.Brown was a research scientist before turning to fiction writing. She completed a PhD in genetics and her research is published in leading science and education journals.
on March 19, 2012 :
Beautifully written, perfectly balanced and paced, each story is different and completely compelling; poignant, disturbing, shocking and subtly underpinned with touches of pure horror. All fourteen stories are of equal calibre – so it’s hard to choose a favourite. I think I would go for Rabbit Nightmare for its creepy off-centre feeling of vulnerability, loneliness and sense of loss. Mouse Chimera is way up there for the truly horrific told in a rather matter-of-fact manner by a scientist slowly losing her mind in the pitiless nature of her work. But then I loved Rain Dance – a clever, unsettling story with the feeling of imminent disaster and the gentle sway of one too many glasses of red wine!
This is top class professional work from a writer who has mastered the delicate and difficult art of the short story. Highly recommend.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
on Oct. 13, 2011 :
I had the pleasure of interviewing J.J.Brown on her collection of short stories. I mention it in the video, but it's worth repeating my favorite story is 'Mouse Chimera'. It's a dark tale (as many of these stories are) of a scientist who gets locked in a lab after dark. It's haunting to see the experimenter become the subject of some bizarre human experiment of existential questioning and reckoning with the past. This existential probing existent throughout the length of the book, made me question if it isn't life that is the frightening bit, and death perhaps not all that terrifying.
(reviewed 65 days after purchase)
on Sep. 30, 2011 :
This is a collection of short stories about womens' experience of death and loneliness. There is an intriguing use of scientific themes. One story, about a female laboratory worker, is partially in the form of an experimental report. The final story, "Rain Dream", introduces marine biology in its depiction of a female scientist struggling with loneliness and a drinking problem. (The description of her bad behavior in a restaurant as that of an apparently different character is effective.)
I'm not sure if "Rain Dream" is successful in its use of lobster biology as a means of delineating the woman's fears - lobsters spend much of their lives hiding away, amongst other things. But maybe it's just that this is a novel approach. There is a suggestion via the obsessing on lobster biology that the woman is pregnant and is frightened of a male who may be violent to her.
I'd call the collection interesting, however it didn't engage my emotions. But then, neither does Chekov, though I love his stories.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)