Book Review: Collapsible Horizon

Collapsible Horizon by Tantra Bensko, book reviewIt’s hard to review experimental fiction because, on the one hand, isn’t all fiction experimental? On the other hand, it’s often hard to judge whether an artist is successful or not because you’re not quite sure you understand what they’re trying to do. “Experimental” can often be a way for the artist to remain indefinable without being held accountable.

 

In Tantra Bensko’s case, the experimental part of Collapsible Horizon is readily apparent. Once you dig in, you realize that what she may have been trying to do is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether or not you were challenged. I was.

 

Collapsible Horizon starts off rocking and doesn’t let up. In over 200 pages and almost 50 short stories – almost all of them are flash fiction – she does some incredible things through extraordinary prose. I knew right from the first words (the introduction and Table of Contents) that I was going to be in for a wild ride. The first four lines of her introduction read:

 

    While you read this
    wash your clothes of your body
    wash your body of your clothes
    read naked

 

That sounded like good advice, so I took her up on it. I’m not convinced that reading naked made the stories any better, but I did forget I was naked.

 

In Bensko’s stories, three dimensional objects become two dimensional without losing essential properties, houses get up and walk, spiritual energies have personalities apart from the bodies they inhabit, body parts speak, animals become metaphors, and stories have disputes with the words that form them. These are just a few of the odd goings on in Collapsible Horizon.

 

I’ll have to caution you. Read it slow. It will bend your mind. If you have an allergic reaction to tangential thinking, then read Pride and Prejudice instead.

 

Tantra Bensko teaches a course in Experimental Fiction writing through WritersCollege.com. You can order Collapsible Horizon from Amazon (affiliate link), including the Kindle version for $3.99.

 

NOTE: These are my true views. There is no agreement between me and the author of Collapsible Horizon regarding the nature of this review. A free copy of the book was sent to me for review, but there has been no pressure to persuade me to write with a slant.

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