Short Story Review: “Outside the House, Watching for the Crows” by John Langan

3 of 5 stars.

All too often teens and parents don’t talk about the parents’ experience as teens, whether it’s generational amnesia or propriety’s sake. Yet there could be lessons learned as teens interact with the world in a particular way–their world views are opening, they are exposed to new ideas and art and music and forms of expression and belief. There’s the pressure to understand new groups and possibly to belong. And there’s the access to mind-altering substances.

This tale sits somewhere between urban legend and urban fantasy as a father writes his son a letter as a follow-up to a question posed by the son:

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you–I mean, the weirdest?

The father hesitates to answer such a dangerous question, especially having spent years trying to forget . . . Notably, he also references the lack of openness and understanding between himself and his own parents. But then he launches into his story about when he met a girl in high school and then her group of friends which exposed him to new music that ripped his world right open . . . literally . . . [and I don’t misuse the word literally].

This tale appears in the New Lovecraftian anthology, The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu edited by Paula Guran. I received my copy of the anthology directly from Prime Books. I’ve previously read Langan’s “Bloom”, “Children of the Fang”, and “The Wide, Carnivorous Sky”.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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