Quantcast

Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection by Tara Campbell

Source: GBF
Paperback, 98 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection by Tara Campbell is a short story collection of disturbing and horrifying stories about dolls and other playthings. Each story breathes life into Barbie’s friends, teddy bears with guns, and so many other body-less beings. These nine stories may seem like innocent looks into the lives of our childish playthings, but these toys are not childish and they are far from innocent. Campbell weaves her tales with such precise language, you’re swept up into this horrifying world in which rape and voodoo have serious, life-threatening consequences and the phrase “let them eat cake” emerges from an entirely different context.

From “The Box”: “Miss Holly raises empty palms. ‘At this point motives are immaterial. All we can manage now are the consequences.'” (pg. 4)

The opening story, “The Box,” finds a number of dolls languishing in the darkness not only of the physical place, but the emotional space. They are unsure why they have been removed from their children and why they can no longer be in the playroom, but once the consequences of events that “happened to them” and were “beyond their control” are revealed, the parallels between these dolls and many young women become clear. The uncertainty, the fear, the anxiety, the shaming. It is all here in this short story, and if it makes you uncomfortable, it should. It should also make you rethink your actions and reactions to young women who find themselves similarly situated, especially when things beyond their control occur. Sympathy, rather than judgment, should be given, along with a helping hand.

Campbell’s stories are haunting and unsettling. They will leave readers looking for the flashlight to not only provide themselves with a sense of hope, but to also reveal some harsh truths. Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection by Tara Campbell is a delight in horror and twisted storytelling that shouldn’t be missed.

The last story I read that had dolls in it was hugely disappointing. You can check out my review of The Birthing House.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

With a BA in English, an MA in German, and an MFA in Creative Writing, Tara Campbell has a demonstrated aversion to money and power. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she has also lived in Oregon, Ohio, New York, Germany and Austria. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.

She is the recipient of the following awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities: the 2016 Larry Neal Writers’ Award in Adult Fiction, the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding New Artist, and Arts and Humanities Fellowships for 2018 – 2022. She is also a 2017 Kimbilio Fellow and winner of the 2018 Robert Gover Story Prize.

Tara earned her MFA from American University in 2019, and is a fiction editor at Barrelhouse. She teaches fiction with American University, the Writer’s Center, Politics and Prose, and the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Political AF: A Rage Collection by Tara Campbell

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 74 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Political AF: A Rage Collection by Tara Campbell is a slim collection with a powerful anthem and story arc that begins with “The meadow.” This prose poem sets the reader up for the themes to come — self-indulgence, dark desire and hate, outrage, and pain. That meadow is the nation that certain people have built, hiding it behind the ideals of liberty, while at the same time bleeding its people and waiting for the blood to spill.

The anthem of this collection, “Shut up and dribble,” is a chant that calls us to action. We [and I mean everyone, not just the oppressed] should not be silent like they tell us, we should rise up for the ideals and equality denied. This is personified in “Four-cent Father,” a poem in which the death of a Black man in his own garage is settled with four cents. How can a man’s life be worth so little, and how can a man who plays music in his garage be killed by bullets? He was minding his own business, he was spending time at his home — his home was not his castle, he was not safe.

There is a deep, simmering rage in this collection. A raging against injustice, a raging against the expectations of a society that’s created a false sense of justice, and a rage that builds against the circumstances created by these illusions. “Would my grandmother’s/German immigrant bones/have ached for the man/she would never have known/but for the slavers’ greed?’ (“After the Pedestal,” pg. 21) The “American Beast” rears its ugly head, slithering under the covers and slipping into rooms where “rumbling in the voices of grownups/speaking softly after dinner/about the problems of the world.//” (pg. 25) and becomes commonplace.

The poems in Political AF: A Rage Collection by Tara Campbell will get under your skin, making you uncomfortable not just in the dark but in the light of day. These poems call on us to break the silence, acknowledge the horrors of the past, see the bleak present, and get off our butts and do something about it.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet:

Tara Campbell is a Kimbilio Fellow, a fiction editor at Barrelhouse, and an MFA candidate at American University. Publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons, and Luna Station Quarterly.

She is the recipient of the following awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities: the 2016 Larry Neal Writers’ Award in Adult Fiction, the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding New Artist, and Arts and Humanities Fellowships for 2018 and 2019. She is also a recipient of the 2018 Robert Gover Story Prize.

Her novel TreeVolution was published in 2016, followed in 2018 by her hybrid fiction/poetry collection Circe’s Bicycle. Her third book, a short story collection called Midnight at the Organporium, will be released by Aqueduct Press in 2019.

Check out the Gaithersburg Book Festival Panel discussion with Joseph Ross, Tara Campbell, Kim Roberts, and E. Ethelbert Miller:

Mailbox Monday #607

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

Cold Moon: On Life, Love, and Responsibility by Roger Rosenblatt

The Cold Moon occurs in late December, auguring the arrival of the winter solstice. Approaching the winter solstice of his own life, Roger Rosenblatt offers a book dedicated to the three most important lessons he has learned over his many years: an appreciation of being alive, a recognition of the gift and power of love, and the necessity of exercising responsibility toward one another. Rosenblatt’s poetic reflections on these vital life lessons offer a tonic for these perilous and fearful times, and attest to the value of our very existence. Cold Moon: a book to offer purpose, to focus the attention on life’s essentials, and to lift the spirit.

Political AF: A Rage Collection by Tara Campbell

Unlikely Books is thrilled to release Political AF: A Rage Collection by Tara Campbell. The past few years have been fertile ground for work in the field of protest writing. Political AF: A Rage Collection is a hybrid chapbook of poetry and prose. The collection focuses on topics such as race, corruption, gun violence, police brutality, Confederate monuments, reproductive freedom, and the sexual harassment and abuse of women. While the current POTUS and his league of enablers are addressed in some works the bulk of the collection is, sadly, evergreen.

Brain Candy 2

So you know that the speed of light is fast: 229,792,458 miles per second. But what does that really mean? It means that at the speed of light, you could reach the moon in 1.3 seconds. How long to travel to the sun? Just 8 minutes. And in 4.6 hours, you could reach Pluto at 4.6 billion miles away! If you like seeing far-out facts in a new light, the second book in the colorful Brain Candy series takes a deep (and delicious) dive into numbers, fun facts, and cool trivia on all kinds of topics. It’s a novel approach to feeding kids smart snackable bites about the world and is sure to be an addictive addition to the bookshelves of Weird But True! and Just Joking fans.

The Coolest Stuff on Earth: A Closer Look at the Weird, Wild, and Wonderful

Did you know that dogs can shake off a pound of water in less than a second? That some sand dunes whistle and sing? That the U.S. dollar bill is full of hidden symbols related to the number 13? Our world is filled with strange, bizarre, and weird happenings. But what do they mean? WHY are they important? And what secrets are behind them?

These secrets and MORE are revealed through cool stories, action-packed photos, fantastic infographics, and exciting Q&As with in-the-field experts. Discover the secrets of sharkskin, the mysteries behind incredible island animals, the power behind lightning, how a rare gemstone changes color, and more. Kids will be captivated by this fresh way of looking at our amazing planet.

What did you receive?