cover image The Janus Tree and Other Stories

The Janus Tree and Other Stories

Glen Hirshberg. Subterranean (, $40 (230p) ISBN 978-1-59606-408-9

Hirshberg delivers plenty of creepy, strange tales in his third collection. Notable selections include "You Become the Neighborhood," a crazed mother's retelling of a traumatic event in her old apartment building, and the Shirley Jackson Award%E2%80%93winning title story about a lonely teen, a violent and troubled bully, and the ghostly town they live in. The quiet star of the collection is "Miss Ill-Kept Runt," in which a little girl awakens from a nap in the car and realizes that the people in the front seat are not her parents. Hirshberg is a master of the disturbing, though he can sometimes be heavy-handed, and he tersely and unnecessarily explains the endings of some supernatural stories. While each story is definitely unsettling, only a few are truly memorable. (Nov.)