The Beautiful Room by RB Russell. Chapbook review

THE BEAUTIFUL ROOM by R.B. Russell. Nightjar Press £3.00

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. As a writer he’s the author of two short story collections (Putting the Pieces in Place and  Literary Remains)  and of  the  novella “Bloody Baudelaire”.

Russell’s writing style is consistent with the refined nature of his literary choices.  Subtlety and ability to gently disquiet and unnerve the reader, wrapped in a classy polished wording, are the main characteristics of his fictional output.

“The Beautiful Room”, a twelve-page booklet from Nightjar Press, is no exception.  The plot is quite simple. A couple, just relocated abroad, and looking for an apartment to rent, inspect a  house which immediately takes the woman’s fancy because of a gorgeous bedroom. The man, however, doesn’t share his mate’s enthusiasm and, in just a few sentences, Russell contrives to depict how the relationship has its uneasy moments and a slight undercurrent of  resentments and recriminations.

The discovery that a flock of birds is trapped within the room’s walls will lead to unexpected developments ending up in an ambiguous  Aickmanesque fashion apt to leave behind an unsettling sense of  foreboding.