Wounds

Stories
Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
4 out of 5 stars (129 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“Nathan Ballingrud is one of my favorite short fiction writers.” (Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and Borne)

“Ballingrud’s work isn’t like any other.” (Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing)

A gripping collection of six stories of terror - including the novella The Visible Filth, the basis for the upcoming major motion picture - by Shirley Jackson Award-winning author Nathan Ballingrud, hailed as a major new voice by Jeff VanderMeer, Paul Tremblay, and Carmen Maria Machado - “one of the most heavyweight horror authors out there” (The Verge).

In his first collection, North American Lake Monsters, Nathan Ballingrud carved out a distinctly singular place in American fiction with his “piercing and merciless” (Toronto Globe and Mail) portrayals of the monsters that haunt our lives - both real and imagined: “What Nathan Ballingrud does in North American Lake Monsters is to reinvigorate the horror tradition” (Los Angeles Review of Books).

Now, in Wounds, Ballingrud follows up with an even more confounding, strange, and utterly entrancing collection of six stories, including one new novella. From the eerie dread descending upon a New Orleans dive bartender after a cell phone is left behind in a rollicking bar fight in The Visible Filth to the search for the map of hell in “The Butcher’s Table”, Ballingrud’s beautifully crafted stories are riveting in their quietly terrifying depictions of the murky line between the known and the unknown.

©2019 Nathan Ballingrud (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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What listeners say about Wounds

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing collection

I was really impressed by the quality of the short stories in this collection and the structure of the overall book. It took me to around the third story to figure out that while the stories all have varying settings and themes, they are all drawn together by the same concept of "hell". The final story brings the collection full circle and gives more insight into the first story. The narrators were all amazing and match the tone and setting of each story. This is the first work by Nathan Ballingrud I've read/listened to, but I plan to check out the rest right away. Also, I'm really excited to see the adaptation of Wounds this summer.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another fantastic collection from Ballingrud

If you have not read Nathan Ballingrud before, you owe it to yourself to get both this collection and his excellent (but tonally very different) first short story collection: North American Lake Monsters. For those who have read Ballingrud before, Wounds will not disappoint, it's overflowing with poetic imagery, morally complex characters, and cosmic horror. However, the stories in Wounds do depart somewhat from those in NALM (which were mostly stories strongly rooted in the tradition of literary realism but with uncanny or supernatural elements creeping in just along the edge) in that they are closer to cosmic / supernatural horror with a hefty dose of literary realism built in. To cite an example, The Visible Filth, one of the two novellas in Wounds, is just as much a character study of the inhabitants of a seedy dive bar in New Orleans as it is a supernatural horror story about a shadowy group interested in invoking strange beings through acts of ritual violence, but the supernatural elements clearly drive the plot. other stories in Wounds such as Skullpocket (which recalls some of the more macabre stories of Ray Bradbury or Neil Gaiman) and The Butcher's Table are set in somewhat fantastical alternative universes, but nevertheless are anchored with nuanced and complex human emotion. There are also some really intriguing recurrent themes and conneccted references in Wounds that suggest a larger mythology, so it will be exciting to see where Ballingrud goes next. overall, I cannot recommend this collection highly enough. Ballingrud is one of the most original and exciting voices in horror (or really, in literature) to come along in years and I envy those who will buy this collection and get to experience his stories for the first time.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Something New!

I bought this after I saw the movie hoping for more backstory. It did portray hellish concepts in a new and unique light. I do wish there were more backstory and information, but it was something new and exciting. I thought the narration was great as well. Heck, I finished it in three days!

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Beautiful yet Deeply Unsettling

Rating: 9.0/10

Wounds is a beautiful yet deeply unsettling collection. This set of stories is going to stay with me into the deepest dark of night, chilling me to the marrow and leaving me with a constant sense of unease. I can say without a shadow of doubt that I have not read anything like it.

I had the pleasure of meeting the author at a Noir at the Bar event in Birmingham last November and heard him read a passage from one of the collection’s stories, The Butcher’s Table. From the pure grittiness and atmosphere that the short passage exuded, I knew that I had to grab a copy of Wounds and stick it near the top of my TBR. Well, I did better than that. I grabbed the audiobook a few days back and ratcheted it up the mountain.

If you read tons of collections or anthologies, you sort of expect that there will always be a story or two that you don’t exactly connect with, let alone enjoy. Whether it has to do with characters, tone, pacing, plot, etc. It is an unfortunate thing that happens, but I don’t know many authors that can pull it off.

But Ballingrud did. HE DID THE DAMN THING.

Included are some of the most disturbing stories I have come across in my horror reading “career” and immediately cement the author on my must-read list. Tales of diabolists, ghouls, cannibals, artifacts from Hell itself, and much more. These lead to stories rich in cosmic, occult, and even fantasy horror.

The two (2) that stood out the most for me were “The Visible Filth” and “The Butcher’s Table”; the first being the basis for the Hulu original film “Wounds” and the second being a brand-new novella. The imagery alone in both of these stories are enough to keep you wanting more, but the prose mixed with the multitude of unsettling occurrences left me salivating.

I don’t enjoy going in-depth with every story because I want you to find out what happens for yourself. All I can say is that you may want to leave the lights on.

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Shirley Jackson would jump in sheer delight!

one of the best I've listened to and read.. Imagery was amazing, areas of the imagination one would never want to think existed never mind sitting with it over coffee getting to know it on a personal level. takes the listener to another level of darkness one we never dare visit never for fear of our own shadows coming to rise up out of those places we keep pushed down, places we fear to even acknowledge part of us. It will be difficult for the reader/listener to find another after that will stir the listener's fears the way Ballingrud does so easily.

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Ok if you enjoy the gorier side of horror

The stories were a bit confusing. but overall ok. Very gory stories. I prefer the psychological horror to blood and guts. Clever narrative though.

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Great job!

Pretty great collection of stories with an interesting theme. Narrations were great especially the last story.

Great job!

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Awesome collection!

All of the stories were great! The narration on all of them was fantastic. Highly recommended.

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  • JA
  • 05-08-19

Genuinely Creative and so. much. fun.

This book is a blast. I'm not typically into horror, because you have to trust the author so much to take care of you. (Will there be scenes that go too far, or trigger some gag reflex? Will the author kill the innocent just to make you feel loss?) The author earned my trust with North American Lake Monsters, and then took me for a wild joyride with this one. The tone is perfect--chilling and creepy, imaginative not terrifying. Yes, there's sprawling gore, but somehow it's just plain fun instead of revolting. I can't say I'd want to live in this book's universe, but it was great fun to peek over the edge.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Eh. Had potential but just never got there for me.

Had promise but never made it for me. Narration was good though. Stories held my attention but fell short.