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Title & Author: Weltanschauung, Vikki Patis

Genre & Publication Date: Short Story anthology, November 4, 2016

Book Description: “The harbinger, the oddball, the remaining twin… Weltanschauung seeks to open your eyes to different stories, set in different worlds and at different times, but with the same theme in mind: to make you question your worldview.

This collection of short stories traverses genres, introduces a variety of characters, and shines a light on some of our deepest fears.

Challenge your perceptions.”

First Line: (From the first story: Zombie) The air around him was hot and close, the shadows lengthening by the second.

My Take: This book was provided by the author for review.

For those of you wondering about the title, no, it’s not just a collection of random letters strung together. It’s actually a German word meaning “world view” or the philosophical/life view of an individual or group. It’s a perfectly chosen title actually since each story travels down the oftentimes dark road of a character’s mind and the world he/she experiences. A shame English doesn’t have a succinct term for this like the German language — but then again, French needs two words (peu profond) to say the word “shallow”, so there you go.

I’ll admit up front that this is not my usual type of read. It’s quite a bit darker than my tastes normally run, which is why I continued to reflect back on the title as I went along. Each character of the five short stories starts out in a comprehensible setting, whether they are moving through a self-imposed routine, or living with trauma, or working within a warped reality and rigid beliefs. Then events intervene, things escalate, and the macabre rolls onto the stage. At turns grisly and unnerving, these stories don’t pull any punches.

I think for this reason I both liked the read and didn’t, but I also believe that was the point. Delving into the minds of these characters, their perspectives and their “world view”, isn’t something to be enjoyed so much as experienced. Unfiltered weltanschauung, if you will, and the book delivers on that promise.

The Magical: Chilling and thought provoking, the tales definitely hung around in my thoughts well after I finished them which doesn’t often happen. They also had me suspiciously eyeballing shadows and that weird guy who sometimes hangs out in front of the grocery store in my neighborhood.

The Mundane: Oddly, the gloomy nature of these stories (which is the book’s strength) is also what bothered me most, but that was the idea. It says, “Challenge your perceptions” right there in the description.

Summary of Thoughts: Currently the book is $5.00 on Amazon, or free if you have Kindle Unlimited. I have a hard time rating this one because while the stories disturbed me I also know this is exactly what they were trying to do. So, the thesis of the book definitely hit its target but it also made me feel like the volunteer from the crowd who stands in front of a bullseye with an apple on her head. The professional knife throwing Carnie gives me an enormous thrill but I’m planning on a trip to the bar after it’s over.

I’m giving this one three and a half stars — three for my personal opinion/preference and an extra half because I know those with darker literary tastes who enjoy an unsettling read will love it. If that’s you, pick this one up today.

3-5-stars

Many thanks to author Vikki Patis for providing a copy of the book to review!

Want to know more about the author and her work? Check out her awesome website and blog over at the Bandwagon where she discusses Fiction, Feminism, and Fibromyalgia.

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