by Catherine McCarthy
Weird tales from haunted Wales
The master of the weird tale, H. P. Lovecraft, said that, “Atmosphere, not action, is the great desideratum of weird fiction”.
Catherine McCarthy’s collection of short stories have atmosphere in spades. They are true weird tales.
McCarthy’s stories are all set in her native Wales and she deftly weaves a wealth of local folklore and ghostly atmosphere. The stories run from ghost stories that, while perhaps conventional, are nevertheless outstanding and beautifully written, to cosmic horror.
But the unifying thread in all the stories is Wales and its landscapes. The misty, haunted hills, the grey seas and the ancient standing stones.
Reading Mists and Megaliths is like taking a guided, ghost tour of an entire country. Rather than a hokey tourist trap, though, the Wales of these stories is the Wales of Arthur Machen: ancient, brooding and beautiful