A review of We Live Inside Your Eyes by Kealan Patrick Burke

Visitations to Trinity Bellwoods’ Little Ghosts bookstore leave my wallet a little lighter, but with new literature, interred in a budding personal horror library. H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu and John Langan’s Leviathan interpretation are two entities I’ve been mentally dissecting since my their purchase, both also from Little Ghosts. I’ve got Japanese horror, Nordic folklore and weird high fantasy on the back burner, mentally noting the books in-store for future spending. This small Toronto shop is unconsciously curating my stay within the horror genre, leading away from the moretypical Kings, Rices and Koontz that dominate in the mainstream.

Absent is the oratory language and world building as seen in Lovecraftian horror prose and classic gothic literature. Instead, we have a more of-the-moment appeal – in We Live Inside Your Eyes, Kealan Patrick Burke is a modern visionary of phantasmagorical allegories, mundane humanity meeting within worlds of magical realism. His take is a more straightforward approach to the scaries, strong imagery serving as a nice palate cleanser from the existential despair of Lovecraft. It is twinge more gruesome and literal than expected, but my personal muses lean towards vague and fantastical. Admittedly, only a few of the shorts grabbed me by the collar, in reading it “The House of Abigail Lane,” Lovecraft’s “Innsmouth” bubbles up the surface of my mind, it must be only remnants.

This anthology feels much more like a tasting menu, a beer float of contemporary horror settings, Burke-brewed. I might not be clawing at my skin and foaming at the mouth in inspiration after breezing through We Live Inside Your Eyes, but I’ve got a nice, comforting buzz. The appetite for thicker and meatier is waiting to be sated, but these samplers were nice. It’s quite likely I’ll crack the book open again have another taste, in another time. I’m curious to see what a Burke novel would be; the Sunflower God entity in one of the short stories is fodder for more universal possibilities.

Additional reading:

“A review of First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami” for Windhill Journal

“A Brazilian Looks at Lovecraft” by Davi Braid, for Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein

Different Beasts by J.R. McConvey

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