Book Review: Dreaming at the Top of my Lungs – Israel Finn


I took a bit of a punt on this collection of short stories from Israel Finn. I liked the title and had heard a couple of people say some nice things about it via Goodreads. Collections are one of my favourite things to read, in fact, I prefer a good collection of stories over a novel, but that’s just me.

I am pretty sure that this is Finn’s first published collection, and if so, it is impressive to say the least, not just the stories themselves but impeccably edited also. I have heard someone describe it as weird fiction, and it definitely has some strange elements running through it, though its feet are planted firmly within the dark fiction genre.

The first story ‘Stranded’ was superb. Always a great way to open a collection with one of the best stories within. A well-written, haunting tale about a man who gets what he wished for. There was something really quite beautiful about the way this was written. It reminded me a little of John F.D. Taff who is one of my favourite writers, so a huge complement there. ‘No Such Thing as Monsters’ was shorter and almost as impressive. I really enjoyed the ending to this one. It was only short but real punchy. The collection never really dips in quality and there is terrific variety on show. Other favourites were ‘Deadfall Lane’, ‘Stones’ and ‘Deathbed’. ‘To Catch a Fly’ is the longest of the stories and is a diary style narrative by a inmate at a prison, also very good. The final story ‘Ugly’ whilst also one of the shortest was my favourite. Again this was brilliantly written, a little strange but ultimately very satisfying. How often have you travelled on the bus to work and simply sat there people watching? Two bullies get more than they bargained for in this wonderfully strange tale.

Israel Finn has announced himself in some style with this great collection of dark short stories. The real scare lies in the fact that Finn will undoubtedly get even better!

Highly recommended.

You can buy ‘Dreaming at the Top of my Lungs’ here.

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