The ZONE genre worldwide books movies
the science fiction
fantasy horror &
mystery website
 
 
home  articles  profiles  interviews  essays  books  movies  competitions  guidelines  issues  links  archives  contributors  email

Trailer Park Fairy Tales
Matt Dinniman
Elastic paperback £5

review by Martin Drury

Matt Dinniman hops into an already overcrowded territory. In combining the mundane with the unusual he treads on the toes of the late Richard Laymon. In blurring the boundaries between the expected and the unexpected, Dinniman merely echoes the legend that is Roald Dahl. Through sketching his America as a distorted mirror of a landscape - a parallel to our own society - Dinniman nips at the heels of Terry Pratchett. Whiffs of the ethos behind The League Of Gentlemen's bizarre gothic take on modern life, wafts gently from the pages of this macabre menagerie of fiction. Unfortunately for Dinniman, the 'urban fairy tale' is a false concept. A fairy tale can be dressed on the whim of its master. But it must have magic and - above all - it must be beautiful. It must be an expression of a myth.

It can be dramatic but it must have a moral and good must triumph at the end. The wicked queen does not triumph over Snow White and her prince. There is no beauty in the modern. Beauty resides in the simple and in the simplistically constructed but not in the modern. To subvert the fairytale genre is to pervert the fairytale genre. In messing with myths one creates a hybrid and Trailer Park Fairy Tales are, in actuality, a few stories about odd events that happened in a setting modern society might find family. So, here we all are. A cornucopia of characters are posed to play out their odd little eccentricities upon a stage of sentences. The former Siamese twin who is also a sculptor of Spam. The mathematical genius who is also a dinner lady and - last but not least - the teenage exorcist, all have their parts to play in this pantomime of the obscure. Other characters will come to join them and you'll be amazed by their quirks and their foibles but it is Dinniman's skill with the written word that saves his work from tumbling into obscurity.

Turn your eyes away from the words for just a moment and you miss the integral component of the story. The Liberation Of Father Richards forces awake the slumbering with: "We were all sitting down to dinner when we learned that Father Richards had come back from the dead." Dinniman jolts the reader into the stratosphere of excitement. Yet, the pace falters, splutters and coughs as it falls - more through necessity than choice - back into a slow, dull rhythm of ennui. Characters move. They plod. They have normal lives. They yawn. The reader yawns. At times, the reader wishes that Dinniman's creations could finally realise their theatrical potential. Everything has to be kept real, safe and secure. The author wants us to see ourselves in the stories. We - as much as the bizarre, gothic creations - are Dinniman's cast of characters. It is a shame that we have not been furnished with our cues. We don't realise who we are supposed to be or what point we are meant to be making.

In Correspondence, Dinniman hangs from the shoulders of another writer. Telling a story through email is a superb way to jester to the modern while fuelling the public passion for the ancient. Matt Beaumont accomplished such a literary feat in E: A Novel. Where Dinniman is concerned, so much is brilliant. But it occurs only in flashes and by the time A Trailer Park Fairy Tale rolls into town, the weird has morphed into the predictable. Dinniman can't perform those literary magic tricks anymore. You - the reader - know how each one of them is done. You've witnessed the writing style and you know what's coming next. Tread softly towards the trailer park gates. Once they're open, run for your life.
Trailer Park Fairy Tales





Please support this
website - buy stuff
using these links:
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Send it
W.H. Smith

home  articles  profiles  interviews  essays  books  movies  competitions  guidelines  issues  links  archives  contributors  email
copyright © 2001 - 2006 Pigasus Press