I was introduced to Miskowski’s work at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulhucon last year in Portland, Oregon. I picked up a copy of her short story “Stag in Flight” and am glad it didn’t get consigned to the Eternal To Read Pile (The pile. We shall not speak of the pile.) I was immediately drawn to her style and afterwards looked forward to reading more, now fulfilled with Strange is the Night.
Strange is the Night collects thirteen of Miskowski’s short stories, including the aforementioned “Stag in Flight”. The stories are definitely in the category of the Weird. While there are some moments of surrealism involved from time to time, the draw of the stories that is most consistent throughout them is what I can only express as the bizarre hidden within the ordinary. Miskowski has a beautiful gift of expressing two worlds at once; the normal, sometimes banal world and the inner, utterly strange world the former is filtered through. A good example of this is “Fur”, a story that almost meandered until the final paragraph when the crux of the story was revealed and it became a completely different story with disturbing focus.
Miskowski’s marriage of the two worlds left me wondering many times if a particular story was supernatural or not in nature. I still haven’t come to a decision on that, and am not sure if it even matters. The stories achieve their sorts of closures, and none of them are comfortable. I’ve found myself ruminating on “what really happened” in different stories many times since finishing the book, and that’s when I knew it had me. Miskowski is definitely a strong voice in Weird literature, and you would not be doing yourself a disservice in reading Strange is the Night.