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Slights Mass Market Paperback – Aug 31 2010


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot; Reprint edition (Aug. 31 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857660071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857660077
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 3.6 x 17.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #933,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Minutely detailed events and conversations are progressively undercut with singsong variations of "This is what should have happened.... This is what did happen." In the sickening blur of Stevie's narrative, what "really" happens is both uncertain and obvious; the details she commands so confidently are infinitely mutable, but the gruesome consequences slowly become apparent. With outstanding control, Warren manipulates Stevie's voice to create a portrait of horror that in no way reads like a first novel." - Publisher's Weekly (starred review and Pick of the Week)

"The best horror of 2009" - Genreville (Publishers Weekly's genre blog, referring to previous edition)

"I've never seen anyone capture sordid human nature so clearly. I was completely drawn in, totally immersed. I felt ill much of the time." - Russell Kirkpatrick

"Simply gut-wrenching" - John Courtenay Grimwood, SFX (June 2008)

"There comes a time when you know, during your reading of a book, that it is going to have a profound effect on you, in terms of its engaging writing and also the message it delivers... Slights by Kaaron Warren can be added to this list." - Mark Deniz, Dark Fiction Review

"
It’s a creepy kind of horror novel, the kind of sublime read that gets under your skin and leads you to distraction... It’s laudably original and Warren’s acerbic writing style is equally poetic and twisted." - Paul Goat Allen, Unabashedly Bookish: The BN Community Blog

"... a brilliantly written book that will not allow you to walk away from it. This is psychological horror at its very best." - Shroud Magazine Book Reviews

"Scarier than Hitchcock, Peckinpah, early Stephen King, Barker et al, and with the sort of dark un-PC humour the Coen Brother’s and John Waters would probably kill for."
- 3:AM Magazine

About the Author

Slights is Kaaron's first novel, the first of three jaw-dropping books to be published by Angry Robot. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in Year's Best Horror & Fantasy, the Poe and Haunted Legends anthologies, Fantasy magazine, Paper Cities, and many other venues in the US, Europe and Australia. Her short story "A Positive" has been made into a short film called Patience, and her first ever published short story "White Bed" was dramatised for the stage in Australia. The author lives in Australia.

Customer Reviews

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By Jessica Strider TOP 500 REVIEWER on Feb. 18 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pros: creepy premise, strong writing, good pacing, interesting family mystery

Cons: unlikable protagonist, didn't feel like a horror novel

Stevie is an unreliable narrator.

She remembers her father, a cop, as a good, quiet man. Others remember him differently. He was the kind of cop who didn't like to see the guilty get away with their crimes, even when there wasn't enough evidence to convict them.

Stevie was 18 when her mother died, passenger in the car Stevie was driving. The accident gave Stevie her third near death experience. Before, she'd been too young to understand what happened. This time she realized that when you die you enter a room. A dark room. A dark room where those you've slighter want to hurt you.

The book is presented as a horror novel and the premise is quite terrifying. But in execution, it's less about horror than it is about the mystery of who Stevie's father was and what death actually holds for her. And while she runs from the first mystery, wanting to believe her father was a great man, she runs towards the second, trying to get back to her room to see if it changes.

As a protagonist she's a thoroughly unlikable character. She's rude, disrespectful and goes out of her way to anger the people in her life. And yet, her story is fascinating and she somehow remains sympathetic.

The writing is strong and the pacing good, doling out enough clues to keep you interested.

One word of caution, try not to read the synopsis on the back of the book. It contains a spoiler that makes part of the mystery a lot easier to figure out. If you want to get a sense of the book, read the first few pages.
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By poprad99 on Sept. 7 2009
Format: Paperback
Explicitly, this is a novel about a serial killer. More importantly, Slights is an internal portrayal of an unstable, unempathic protagonist with a poor sense of self, penchants for booze, recurrent suicide attempts and of course, murder. When near death, characters experience a room filled with the people they have slighted, or, wronged slightly - a chamber of profound psychological pain. From the first paragraphs, Slights is a seductive read, exploring layer after characterological layer of Stevie's rubbish and dug-up garden. It's difficult to feel what the protagonist feels - the pathos is convincing. A twisted knockout of a tale.

[Those with mental health issues should be cautious in approaching this emotionally potent novel. Also, not recommended for children or adolescents.]
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Slights reviewed by [...] July 27 2009
By TheBookZombie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First things first, the copy of Slights that I read did not have that totally creepy cover you see above, mine was a simple black and red, with the title, author and these two statements:

On the front: "The Buddhists have many different types of heaven. I wanted to explore what it was like to have many different types of Hell." On the back: "A Wasp Factory for the misery memoir generation."

Sounds fascinating, but it doesn't come close to revealing just what you may find inside. Upon finishing the book and seeing the final cover I was actually quite glad to not have seen it beforehand. The main reason is because of how the book progresses in the creepy factor. It builds as you read, until you realize the horror was there all along.

Slights is narrated by Stephanie, with the first chapter titled `at eighteen' and from there each chapter is told from a certain age up to her late-thirties. This format worked wonderfully, not only does the reader get to follow her life as she ages, but also gets to see how her memories and past change as she matures and thinks back on things.

The entire novel is focused on Stephanie, and her family history, including parts she wasn't present for but are of much importance to her own life. Her father dying at a young age, and her mother dying from an accident which she may have caused could have been the key events that lead Stephanie to develop an unappealing fascination for death. Or maybe it's just in her blood. Either way she is determined to find out what happens when you die.

Attempting suicide has helped Stephanie, in the past, to cross into the place where life and death merge, and she has come to believe that what waits for you is all those people you slight in your life. It can be someone who holds a grudge for a slight you purposely intended or even a stranger who thinks you've done them wrong. All that matters is that these people remember you as having taking advantage, or harmed them in some way.

What was especially fascinating about this premise is that Stephanie also believes that people holding grudges end up in the Hells of the people they feel slighted by. So it only stands to reason that after death there are a million tiny Hells waiting for you. Another aspect that was completely baffling is that Stephanie has to be one of the most unattractive characters ever. Not in personal appearance, but in behavior, attitude, and the way she carries herself. And regardless of her what she believes may happen to people who insult others, she seems to go out of her way to be disrespectful and ignorant. However, that didn't stop me from feeling for this character - not sympathy exactly, and not really pity. I think it was more of a desire that she find what she was looking for, even if it meant her own destruction, it would have been a relief to see her find even a scrap of peace.

This is by far one of the most difficult books to review, because I enjoyed it so much, and there were so many layers to the story. Not only a character piece, it's also a family history, with a mystery to bring the two together. Slights is classified as a horror novel, but don't go in expecting blood, guts, and monsters. The horror of this book is the human kind, that silently creeping sickness of the psyche that can be hiding inside of any of us.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Creepiness memoir Jan. 4 2012
By Dave Versace - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'll start with this: for a book narrated from the serial killer's point of view, the creepiness factor of Slights still manages to find its way far over the top. The unsettling starts as a niggle, like an ache mildly growling somewhere behind your eyes; page by page the suspense-tease grows into a full-strength migraine. What's interesting is that the nature of narrator Stevie (aka Stephanie Searle) is never in question: she's a lying, self-absorbed sociopath dedicated to casting herself in the best possible light, and her descent into serial murder and self-harm are unsurprising.

And yet while Stevie's grotesque behaviour - manipulations, deceptions and sometimes vicious retaliations for offences both real and imagined - is the central narrative device, the story expands outwards in unexpected directions. During several near-death experiences, Stevie has a brush with an especially horrifying afterlife, haunted by the victims of her casual dissociative cruelty. But even this strange supernatural element ultimately becomes less disturbing than the corruption and secrets that Stevie unwittingly unearths about her past, her family and her neighbours. It all adds up to a chilling portrait of a social fabric almost as shredded and tainted as Stevie herself.

On occasions Stevie is almost a sympathetic protagonist, thanks in the most part to a well-observed narrative voice that highlights her childish wonder, an intense curiosity and her great capacity for wilful self-deception, while never letting you forget how dangerous she is. You can feel for her, sometimes, when you're not actively repulsed by her grotesque impulses.

As a novel, Slights is a bit like that too; thoughtful and reflective, layered with metaphor but also with lies and sleight of hand. The horror is grounded in disturbing revelations more than overt violence, though there are a handful of hard-to-stomach scenes. At times it defies all expectation by being sad instead of nasty - I could never quite distance myself from some of Stevie's woes. Slights is also funny - once or twice I found it laugh out loud hilarious. What I can't quite be certain of is whether that wasn't an overreaction to the relief of getting through some gruelling scene. It's an intense story, disguised as a breezy tale of surburban life, albeit one set in a suburb with a suspiciously high rate of disappearances.

I liked it a lot. For fans of psychological horror and dark fantasy, I'd call it a must-read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I Feel Slighted By Having Read This May 27 2011
By Jane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kaaron Warren's "Slights" has one of the most interesting premises I've come across. Unfortunately, the execution simply does not do the concept justice.

Stephanie "Stevie" Searle is the main character in this memoir-style recounting of a loose-leafed killer. I say "main character" as opposed to "protagonist" because from the start to the finish of the book the audience feels absolutely no affinity or like for Stevie. Of all the literary anti-heroes I've come across, none has been more repulsive, more unsympathetic, or more irredeemably unlikeable than Stevie Searle. Never has a main character been so unpalatable.

The pacing is also a huge detraction. It took literally half the book before the plot even began to develop intelligently. The first quarter is tedious and on several occasions I was tempted to simply stop reading, for lack of any plot progress.

Finally, for a horror book the horror is in quite a short supply. I suppose this was meant to be psychological horror, but what you get is something more akin to general fiction. I'd even go as far as to say that "Slights" could even be filed as a thriller than a work of horror (although to be frank this is being very kind). Perhaps the reader is too distanced from Stevie to appreciate the horror in what she sees, or perhaps descriptions which are supposed to be frightening are just written very blandly. Whatever the case, there is nothing the least bit frightening about this book.

If you have a lot of time and a high tolerance for tedium, then "Slights" is definitely worth a shot. Otherwise, I'd recommend against this book. The pacing is just too slow and the main character too viscerally unlikeable to connect with.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Interesting premise, sloppy execution March 29 2011
By JDora - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While Slights started off interesting, I found that it took far too long to get anywhere, and by the time it did, I was already pretty disenchanted with a protagonist who is, to be frank, pretty all-around repulsive. You can have a book with a killer for a "hero", but the thing to remember is that to do so, you need to make him or her likable or relatable to a certain degree, and Stevie is neither. Not only that, she fails to be interesting or entertaining.

The novel drags on for far too long, with pages after pages devoted to how Stevie dislikes this person or that person for this arbitrary reason. And, honestly, I didn't care about them either because there's a disappointing lack of characterization going on. There's nothing particularly scary or unsettling going on, and even the vaguely otherworldly bits come across as flat and unengaging because the book is told from Stevie's perspective and she reacts to everything with all the emotion and personality of a rock. The first scene, describing Stevie's near-death experience and a trip to the other realm, should have been terrifying, but it was just related in far too bland and matter-of-fact a way. It was like reading a power point presentation on someone's vacation.

Warren's narrative has an odd, slippery cadence to it that means it was far too easy for my mind to wander, and after about 150 pages I realised I was still waiting for the book to "start getting good" and had to give up on it. Maybe the rest of the book dispenses live kittens and delicious candy every time you turn a page. I wouldn't know, because for me, I don't care to waste time reading a book I'm not enjoying NOW just on the promise that it might get better eventually.

Definitely not for everyone, though I had high hopes. Definitely try a sample before you commit to buying the whole thing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Tear the cover off July 25 2013
By The Handy Lady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The main problem with this book are the blurb/synopsis on back covers. The blurb should be a teaser, not spoil the plot of the novel. As a result, I expected the novel to start off with Stevie as a serial killer and visiting the room. Not so--that stuff doesn't happen until mid-story, and are, in fact, plot developments. I would've enjoyed the story more had I not known she was going to become a killer and been surprised by the plot twist. Also, it sets the reader up for a slasher novel, which this isn't. It's a portrait of a serial killer.

To be fair, I'm evaluating this book independent of the cover. Slights is a year-by-year chronicle of a disturbed young woman. 18-year-old Stevie is haunted by the visions she had after barely surviving the car crash which killed her mother. She found herself in a dark room, surrounded by the people she'd slighted in life, clawing and tearing at her. Each chapter represents another year in her life, in which she becomes more and more obsessed with that room, going to greater and greater lengths to return to it and learn more. She also makes some gruesome discoveries in her parents' backyard which causes her to question her family history.

While it's hard to like Stevie, she's interesting and funny at times. The story lines about the room and her family history engaged me enough to keep the book going. The depth of detail about Stevie's family and personal life made her very realistic. I didn't feel the book was frightening at all, probably because the scary elements were intensely personal for the main character (and therefore, unlikely to show up under my bed at 3:30 a.m.).

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy macabre, character-driven fiction.


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