Creepy and meditative short stories that investigate the blacker side of humanity.
Two teenagers gearing up for the future visit their quadriplegic aunt and her husband. A man visits his brother and runs into an old girlfriend. A writer meets a haunting woman at a bar late at night. Six more tales are present in the collection. And running through all of them is a unsettling undercurrent.
Author Alaric Cabiling’s short story collection is not for those who like happy endings. But for any readers who like well-developed fiction, the nine stories here are exquisite. Characters are fully realized with their own backstories and motivations. It is not hard to imagine them going on with their lives off page. Certain stories also have a creepy vibe. While they never break out into full on horror, there is an odd feeling that something is not quite right, something just below the surface. Unfortunately, sometimes these elements are not explored enough, resulting in some of the stories not ending on a satisfying note. It is not that they are too depressing or anything of the sort, but rather that they feel like they end too soon, before certain plot elements are adequately wrapped up. A few of these stories could also be a bit tighter. However, in spite of these issues, it is tough to get tired of them. While some short story collections are better read section by section, no such fatigue sets in with the tales here and they come recommended even to those who normally do not pick up similar collections. It helps that Cabiling’s pacing and wording creates the perfect disquieting tone needed to pull off some of these novellas and anecdotes.
INSANITY BY INCREMENTS is a disquieting but irresistible view into love and relationships gone wrong.