Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Publisher and editor Ray Russell is a man of taste, devoted to elegant fiction with a penchant for dark, ghostly and supernatural stories.Â As a writer heâ€™s the author of two short story collections (Putting the Pieces in Place andÂ Â Literary Remains) Â and of Â the Â novella â€œBloody Baudelaireâ€.
Russellâ€™s writing style is consistent with the refined nature of his literary choices. Â Subtlety and ability to gently disquiet and unnerve the reader, wrapped in a classy polished wording, are the main characteristics of his fictional output.
â€œThe Beautiful Roomâ€, a twelve-page booklet from Nightjar Press, is no exception. Â The plot is quite simple. A couple, just relocated abroad, and looking for an apartment to rent, inspect a Â house which immediately takes the womanâ€™s fancy because of a gorgeous bedroom. The man, however, doesnâ€™t share his mateâ€™s enthusiasm and, in just a few sentences, Russell contrives to depict how the relationship has its uneasy moments and a slight undercurrent of Â resentments and recriminations.
The discovery that a flock of birds is trapped within the roomâ€™s walls will lead to unexpected developments ending up in an ambiguous Â Aickmanesque fashion apt to leave behind an unsettling sense of Â foreboding.