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North American Lake Monsters Audiobook

North American Lake Monsters: Stories

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Publisher's Summary

In this striking and bleak, yet luminous debut collection, Nathan Ballingrud, winner of the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award, uses the trappings of the Gothic and the uncanny to investigate a distinctly American landscape: The loneliest and darkest corners of contemporary life.

Ballingrud’s stories are love stories. They’re also monster stories. Sometimes the monsters collected here are vampires or werewolves. Sometimes they wear the faces of parents, lovers, brothers, or ex-wives, and sometimes they wear the faces we see in our mirrors. The people in these stories - ex-cons, single parents, unemployed laborers, kids seduced by extremism - are stranded by life, driven to desperate acts by love and a longing for connection. Sometimes they’re ruined; sometimes redeemed. They are always recognizably, wonderfully, and terrifyingly human. Even at their most monstrous.

©2013 Nathan Ballingrud (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (33 )
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Performance
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  •  
    duck 05-30-16
    duck 05-30-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
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    Story
    "disappointing"

    it was a hard book to get through. The stories seemed good well written and all that but every story has a poor ending. It was not at all what i expected.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    travis 01-15-16
    travis 01-15-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "A dark and realistic read."

    very dark. the author
    knows human hardship first hand. however endings to anticlimactic for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Bland Houston, TX 01-11-16
    C. Bland Houston, TX 01-11-16 Member Since 2012

    Movie Junky

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    76
    5
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    "Outstanding collection of charecter-driven horror"
    What did you love best about North American Lake Monsters?

    If you’ve not read (or listened to) the fiction of Nathen Ballingrud, then you are missing one of the most exciting up-and-coming voices in horror and dark fiction. The range of Ballingrud’s style and interests are on display in this collection of his short works, and every one of the carefully selected stories here is thought-provoking, enigmatic and beautifully tragic. While all of the stories have elements of horror, the supernatural, or some uncanny elements, they are all character-driven, deeply humanistic, and populated with very believable and flawed people. This is not a hackneyed collection of genre pot-boilers; pretty much every story here would hold up perfectly if the supernatural elements were removed, but the fact that there are monsters, angels (maybe), demons, and other kinds of weirdness elevates each work into a kind of dreamy otherworld that oddly makes all the human emotion even more real. Many of these stories (like the Shirley Jackson Award-winning “The Monsters of Haven”) deal with thwarted masculinity, when male protagonist find themselves powerless in the face of the inexplicable. A few of the stories are set in New Orleans (where Ballingrud lived for several years), and in these tales the city itself becomes a major character, but Ballingrud avoids falling back on cliches and instead paints a picture of the city that is as nuanced and conflicted as any of his other characters. To top it all off, Travis Young provides an excellent narration; with a reedy Southern lilt that really sounds at home coming from Ballingrud’s characters. If you love dark tales populated by very real and sympathetic (though not always easy or like or heroic) characters, you owe it to yourself to get this collection.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The protagonist of "The Way Station" some on of my favorites, his loss and hopelessness were beautifully captured in the central metaphor of the story, I found myself rooting for him to find something to hold on to.


    What about Travis Young’s performance did you like?

    He did a great job, and he has the perfect voice for this these stories


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Peel back the surface and see the world as you always feared it to be...


    Any additional comments?

    Get this collection and hear an exciting new voice in horror; it will renew your faith in the potential for dark fiction to tell meaningful stories

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abel Salazar Los Angeles, CA 04-14-15
    Abel Salazar Los Angeles, CA 04-14-15 Member Since 2015

    @spitandspite

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
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    Story
    "3.5 out of 5. More drama than horror but solid."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    No, good writer and like his work. Will seek his other works out.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    These feel more like drama wrapped in a light horror genre sheen.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The suicide one was great.


    Do you think North American Lake Monsters needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yes, more shorts from this author!


    Any additional comments?

    Will seek this author out more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Across The Great Divide Georgia, USA 01-20-14
    Across The Great Divide Georgia, USA 01-20-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    1
    Overall
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    Story
    "Penny Dreadful"
    Would you try another book from Nathan Ballingrud and/or Travis Young?

    Yes for the narrator; No for the author.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Nathan Ballingrud again?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the second story. However, the rest were just dreadful.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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