Published by Tallhat Press on 2018
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Psychological Horror, Suspense
An original, 9,000-word short story by Kristi DeMeester, with 10 illustrations by Yves Tourigny. A university student attempts to track down the briefly-glimpsed Christmas film which traumatized her as a child.
UNMEMORY is the first I have read from author Kristi DeMeester. This chapbook struck me as being as complete as any novella, in regards to how well we get to “know” the main character, Ashleigh.
We begin with a glimpse of her as a young girl, and how her home life and values were organized for her then.
“. . . Thou shalt not, thou shalt not is easy enough to follow and allows you to imagine yourself worthy of redemption . . . “
This step was crucial in order for us to see how things impacted her at that point, and continued to morph–changing her into the woman she later becomes. A woman who then has control of her own life.
“. . . An unreality that was interesting only because it was forbidden . . . “
The reader is able to connect with this young child, and continue on after this because we already feel as though we were a “part of her” all along. The way DeMeester did this through her beautiful prose, and simply observing our character later on, made for a seamless transition in my mind.
“. . . part of me wanted to see it, to see if my childhood self had conflated the fear I felt that day into something larger than it was . . . “
The other characters are all as fleshed-out as their roles require them to be. DeMeester manages this much more through showing, than by telling. Movements such as twitches, playing with hair, and uneasy glances portray the impression that an elusive something is off; though the “what” is cleverly kept concealed.
“. . . I wondered if she’d stopped saying words at all but was only making garbled, indistinct sounds.”
However, what I found most impressive was her use of language, and writing style, in general. While we are given some pertinent information, it is done so in a way that the reader can easily get “lost” in the words, and begin second guessing their own first impressions.
“. . . the thought struck me that there was no fiction in it.”
The other thing of note, in my opinion, was how effortlessly the author was able to control MY emotions. From the beginning scene, to the very end, I found myself “feeling” what it was I expect our main character was meant to feel. For the time I spent in this book, it became my entire world.
“. . . There are things that are just right, and this is one . . .”
Overall, I was extremely impressed with my first read from Kristi DeMeester. I already have another book of hers purchased, and am looking forward to getting lost in her visions once again.
About Kristi DeMeester
Kristi DeMeester is the author of Beneath, a novel published by Word Horde Publications, and Everything That’s Underneath, a short fiction collection from Apex Books. Her short fiction has appeared in approximately forty magazines, including Ellen Datlow’s The Year’s Best Horror Volume 9, Stephen Jones’ Best New Horror, Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volumes 1, 3, and 5 in addition to publications such as Fairy Tale Review, Black Static, The Dark, and several others. In her spare time, she alternates between telling people how to pronounce her last name and how to spell her first. Find her online at www.kristidemeester.com.