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North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud Review

Title: North American Lake Monsters

Author: Nathan Ballingrud

First published June 21, 2013

205 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9781618730596 (ISBN10: 1618730592)

Rating: 4


Nathan Ballingrud’s North American Lake Monsters is a haunting and unforgettable collection that delves deep into the darkest corners of the human mind. These stories explore the monsters within us, both real and imagined, and the often tragic consequences of giving in to our inner demons.

From traditional monsters to those that wear the faces of our loved ones, Ballingrud’s characters are driven to the brink by their own desires and fears. These are love stories, but also monster stories, where the line between the two is often blurred beyond recognition.

Set against a backdrop of working-class America, these tales are both brutally honest and incredibly moving, exploring the depths of human emotion with unflinching clarity. With his impeccable writing style and intense focus, Ballingrud has created a collection that is impossible to put down and impossible to forget.

About the Author

Hello there! I wrote a book called North American Lake Monsters: Stories which will be released by Small Beer Press in July 2013. Currently, I’m busy working on my first novel as well as a few more short stories.

My daughter and I reside in Asheville, NC.

Editoral Review

North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud is a masterpiece of the horror genre. First published on June 21, 2013, Ballingrud, a rising star in the horror genre, delivers a collection of eight heart-wrenching tales, each depicting a chilling story with an aftermath that lingers long after the book is closed.

The collection appeals to readers of different artistic preferences. The writing style is exquisite and lyrical, leaving behind a trail of emotions that a reader cannot ignore.

Ballingrud’s stories feed on the human psyche, also forcing readers to question their own capabilities and the demons that lie within.

The stories in North American Lake Monsters predominantly take place in the American South, with themes centered around isolation, addiction, frustration, and an inability to relate.

The central characters are all deeply flawed individuals struggling to survive societal pressure and their own inner conflicts. The monsters, in this case, are not creatures of folktales but are representatives of mortal flaws, powerful enough to cause the characters to destroy themselves.

Ballingrud’s award-winning writing ability allows him to capture the characters’ mental states poignantly. In “The Good Husband,” for example, a couple tries to reconcile after the husband’s alienation from his family due to addiction.

As they get closer, the husband learns of a harrowing secret that causes him to doubt his worthiness as a partner, leading to a tragic ending. The stories explore different forms of relationships and the pressure points that drive people apart, even when they want to be together.

However, while the author’s style is commendable, the recurring themes tend to get repetitive, with some stories feeling too similar in feel to one another. In some instances, the characters are two-dimensional, void of depth, and only serve as conduits for the author’s message.

North American Lake Monsters is an excellent addition to the horror genre, written with care and thoughtful consideration. Nathan Ballingrud has created a vivid and terrifying world that draws readers in, giving them an experience that lingers well after the last story is finished.

Despite its limitations, the collection is still an impressive effort, deserving of praise.

I would recommend North American Lake Monsters to horror fans looking for something fresh and thought-provoking.

The author has created a haunting and thought-provoking collection of stories, and it would benefit anyone looking for a new take on the horror genre. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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