I love a good mashup, especially of the literary variety, and I found exactly what I was looking for this summer when I picked up a copy of Jeremy C. Shipp's The Atrocities: a gothic novella that reads like Coraline meets Black Mirror ... Around every corner, there seemed to lurk some frightening element that...gave me all of the creeps. Stockton House truly feels like it occupies a space separated entirely from the real world ... I definitely recommend picking up Jeremy C. Shipp's The Atrocities to read for yourself.
This strange novella has bursts of unexplained visions and dreams, at times feeling like a nod toward ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.' We have two women, one who has obviously been entrapped and gaslit, and one who has been through some serious trauma that has barely been explained. A lot of the oddities—and indeed the Atrocities themselves—are unexplained in the novella, but the story does not suffer from it. The unexplained nature of the story works to make it creepier, because instead of rationalizations and explanations we get dreams and madness and oddity. It’s a creepy little novella that reminds me of some of the old classics. Great read.
I read The Atrocities in a single unbroken sitting and came away about equally impressed and perturbed. Shipp’s exaggeration of Gothic clichés, his shifts of tone and plot, his dry humor and his sense of the absurd have all stayed with me, but so have my feelings that [there] should have been a little more to the book. I value concision, but much here seems undeveloped ... There’s a frustrating abruptness to the ending; just a few additional pages of aftermath and reflection would, to my mind, have improved the book. Queries and quibbles aside, I truly enjoyed The Atrocities: it’s made me eager to read more of Shipp’s writing, whether archly humorous, bluntly sinister, or, like this book, some strange combination of the two. Stockton House is worth a visit, but do mind the statues, and don’t let the capybara get underfoot.