The House Of Oracles And Other Stories by Thomas Owen. Book review

oraclesTHE HOUSE OF ORACLES AND OTHER STORIES by Thomas Owen, Tartarus Press, h/b, £35.00

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

Another beautifully bound limited edition from the ever reliable (and quirky) Tartarus Press.  This contains a collection of short stories written under a pseudonym by Gerald Bertot, a Belgian author, translated by Iain White.  Originally written in the 1960s and 1970s, these stories of the strange and fantastic have, in the most part, aged well.

The book opens with a tale of a survivor of a train crash meeting a distinctly devilish man afterwards, who keeps reappearing mysteriously throughout his life.  A wanderer finds himself assisting an architect in the eerie basement of a monastery until they find a giant waxwork of a city created long ago.  A man finds himself the keeper of a ladies coat that bleeds, a traveller gets embroiled into a game of dice to go and see a strange sow and a soldier awakes after a night of passion to find himself in an empty house next to a skeleton.

Some excellent stories are to be found within this book – the odd one or two seem to have lost something in translation or across the mists of time, but on the whole, this is an easy and worthwhile read.