It is rare to find a book that is lyrical, sweet, powerful, and horrifying (in a good way) all at once. Hair Side, Flesh Side by Helen Marshall accomplishes this with apparent ease.
The book is a collection of shorts with no apparent thematic connection until you step back and take a long, hard look. It's like the human body. As with the body, all the parts work independently but they function better as a whole.
Hair Side, Flesh Side demonstrates what I love about single author anthologies; many different and wild ideas together but with a consistent voice behind them. Another part I love is that Marshall has a strong voice indeed.
Her stories sink their hooks into you from the very first sentence and won't let go. They are wonderfully paced and approach the lyrical nature of poetry at times. You can see the sheer joy the author takes in writing in every single word on the page.
Hair Side, Flesh Side fits nicely in the spot where literary and genre fiction meet. It wouldn't be out of place in a university-level literature course, but at the same time it can easily share shelf-space with any horror anthologies out there. This is a hard target to hit but Helen Marshall makes it look easy. I can only hope to be half as good as she is someday.
This is a book that will give you delightful nightmares. Take my word on that and go pick it up.