Clive on Dollie

Ellie was fifteen that year, and it was the unhappiest year of her life. Her mother had died in the early spring, worn out by having too many babies, and loving them; by hard work, by the hopelessness of everything. The sky here was so big, and the dirt so dark, and though sometimes there were kind warm rains out of that sky, and sometimes the dirt gave up a little crop of potatoes, life was as hard for the family as life could be.

"A number of you have asked about when I wrote the short story Dollie, which has been published recently in a collection of short fiction by a number of writers called Turn The Lights Down. I've always been interested in writing very brief tales, that hint at the existence of a larger world or mythology just out of sight, and I've slowly been collecting up these 'fragments', with the intention of putting them into a volume of their own in the next few years. Several of my favourite pieces of horror fiction are extremely brief. The Birds, which is the story by Daphne du Maurier which became the origin of Hitchcock's film,is a teasingly short tale. Poe's Masque of the Red Death is an apocalyptic epic in five pages. And Arthur Machen gathers together in his collection Unholy Terrors several visions of the transgressive even shorter than Poe's masterpiece. How brief, I wonder, can a piece of writing be if it is to profoundly affect a reader's view of the world? A paragraph? A sentence? A handful of syllables?"

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By Clive Barker, 17 November 2013

Dollie bibliography...

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