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Nathan Ballingrud Books In Order

Publication Order of Collections

North American Lake Monsters (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Wounds (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Visible Filth (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Nathan Ballingrud is a bestselling American author of dark fantasy fiction and horror books best for his 2015 novella The Visible Filth which was adapted into a movie named Wounds. The film was produced by Babak Anvar and distributed by Annapurna Pictures and premiered Sundance Film Festival in January 2019.
Several awards nominated Ballingrud stories including The Monsters of Heaven was awarded the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Short Story in 2007. North American lake monsters were awarded the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Single Short Story Collection in 2013, and it was also nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection in the same year. The World Fantasy Award for Best Collection and the British Fantasy Award shortlisted it for Best Collection.

The Visible Filth

The Visible Filth is a story set in New Orleans, a small town with bars, college students and some crumbling relationships. Will is a bartender in a bar in New Orleans, and he lives with a woman he does not love in his house. Despite his active social life, he appears to be isolated. He only finds joy from his intense affection for a lady named Alicia his old friend and a patron of the bar. However, Alicia is already in another relationship leaving Will with a burden in his heart since his love for her can only exist as one-sided.

One day there is a fight in the bar between two patrons, and as Will watches the battle, he sees many cockroaches on one side of the bar which leads him to find a cell phone. He finds out that the phone left by a college student and decides to take it to his home for the night planning to hand it over to the owner the following day and that marks the beginning of his strange journey.

After arriving in his house, someone begins sending some disturbing text messages to the phone. After a short, while something worse than the that come and this lead Will and people close to him in a complicated situation. A caller calls the phone, and Will decides to pick the call which immediately him drawing him in. He notices some disturbing images, messages pleading for help and strange sounds that might be someone talking.

Carrie, Will’s girlfriend, becomes obsessed with a tunnel she is ever watching at night though the author does not give us the reason as to why she stays there. But it might be one of the consequences of the cellphone brought to the house by Will. At some point she urinates on the chair she is seated. The following day will break up with her because of coffee.

The story is enticing and well written with finely drawn and relatable characters making the story interesting as you turn pages. Ballingrud’s fiction serves as a mirror enabling us to see the dirt covering what we thought to be pure. While reading the book, you will find yourself pitying the worst facets of the characters but as you continue you be ashamed of your sympathy to them.

The author’s story is an examination of the literal sense of the communication devices we use and take them for granted. The plot opens our lives to the rest of the world in some ways we cannot imagine or in the figure sense of the small jealousies and vanities that come into our way in love affairs and friendships.

The book is composed of solid characters, an intriguing mystery, and dialogue making it lively and one of the best novellas of the year. The author transfigures the local flavor of New Orleans into a darkly menacing atmosphere of weird horror.

North American Lake Monsters

North American Lake Monsters is a debut and multiple award-winning a collection of stories giving an upsetting and bright experience which should not be missed out by those who love to find out the dark sides of the human. The author incorporates both love stories and monster stories. Sometimes the monsters are in their traditional appearance, and sometimes they put on the faces of us, parents and lovers.

Mostly the working class characters in the stories are driven to the extreme ends by love. Sometimes they are destroyed, and others are redeemed and stay in the lonely corners on themselves and struggle to escape. There are some parts of the stories that are just cool, but terror is all over in the human heart and the atmosphere of the stories. Everything else follows the hearts and minds of the people and things that go bad. The stories are superb, well written with a good imagination.

The collection has many creatures sometimes with an element of supernatural beings. Though the subject matters of the stories might appear disturbing, the author has written them in a lovely manner. The lyrical and intense stories play in the deep personal fears and anxieties of the social outcast.
Ballingrud shows that the people struggling to maintain their spousal and parental relationships are just like us. He packs his stories with excellent and emotional punch, and he does not moralize or give easy answers. Some stories take off their focus from the apparent monsters allowing you to discover the more terrifying and brutal beasts. They were not born as monsters, so they only have few excuses to put themselves into the horrible trappings.
Nathan Ballingrud weaves this kind of dark tale employing a precise but powerful hand in the stories full of broken people and some monsters. The well-balanced style has a full and glorious display in the North American Lake Monsters, the author’s debut collection of brutal fiction. Frustration and guilt cut through the center line of most of Ballingrud’s stories. Every action of the stories in the group has its reaction and is followed by the consequence which is fleshed out with a traumatic effect in the narrative.

North- American Lake Monsters is a brilliant, lyrical and emotionally powerful collection of stories. They show the pain we put on ourselves and sometimes to the people around us even after sticking with us during our hard times.

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