Short Story Review: “Corpsemouth” by John Langan

2 of 5 stars.

The pre-Christian lore of many cultures is rife with monsters and magic, curses and heroes. Such is the case with the Scottish Corpsemouth, a titan-like old god that eats bodies and souls of the living and dead, both mortal and immortal. One particular legend tells of a time when Merlin summoned the monster for a battle and then banished it again before it got out of hand . . .

After the death of his Scottish immigrant father, a young American man travels with his mother and sister back to his father’s hometown to find closure. The relationship between the man and his father was on the mend, but not fully healed.

This disjointed tale veers between the man’s fantastical dreams upon arriving in Scotland and his various interactions with his father’s family. The disparate dreams all seem informed by local lore and the unsettled paternal relationship.

This tale appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2016 edited by Paula Guran, which I received directly from Prime Books. I’ve previously read this author’s “Bloom”, “Children of the Fang”, “Outside the House, Watching for the Crows”, and “The Wide, Carnivorous Sky”



[Check out my other reviews here.]


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