Monday 6 November 2023

Book Review: The Trees Grew Because I Bled There by Eric LaRocca

The Trees Grew Because I Bled There by Eric LaRocca book cover

AD* | Eight stories of literary dark fiction from a master storyteller. Exploring the shadow side of love, these are tales of grief, obsession, control. Intricate examinations of trauma and tragedy in raw, poetic prose. In these narratives, a woman imagines horrific scenarios whilst caring for her infant niece; on-line posts chronicle a cancer diagnosis; a couple in the park with their small child encounter a stranger with horrific consequences; a toxic relationship reaches a terrifying resolution...

You Follow Wherever They Go

The anthology's opening story captivates with its subtlety, darkness, and open-ended conclusion, setting an enticing tone for what's to come. The ending is ambiguous and open to interpretation.

Rating: 4 stars

Bodies are for Burning

This story keeps you on edge throughout, with a relentless tension that's downright unnerving. It serves as a stark reminder that the inner workings of a person's mind can be an enigma, leaving you with a sense of unease and the unsettling notion that you can never truly know what's happening in someone else's thoughts.

Rating: 4 stars

The Strange Thing We Become

While this story didn't grip me like others in the collection, I found its unique use of forum posts to convey the narrative intriguing. I struggled at times to fully grasp the storyline, but the inventive approach to storytelling added a distinct and thought-provoking twist.

Rating: 2 stars

The Trees Grew Because I Bled There

This one's undeniably dark, and I couldn't shake that grim feeling it left me with. It's visceral and unsettling in a way that reminds me of Stephen King's Misery, with a similar sense of dread and unease running through the narrative.

Rating: 3 stars

You're Not Supposed to Be Here

This story strikes a balance with its symmetry, and it's executed with precision. It's unapologetically raw, delving into themes of pain in a guttural manner. The added length compared to some of the other stories provides more room for the narrative to be skilfully developed.

Rating: 4 stars

Where Flames Burned Emerald as Grass

This story takes a somewhat milder approach compared to the graphic content of other tales in the collection. It delves into the supernatural with elements of foreshadowing and foresight, which add a layer of intrigue. The plot unfolds at a more measured pace, allowing for a slow build of suspense and anticipation.

Rating: 3 stars

I'll Be Gone By Then

This story cleverly subverts expectations and the ambiguous ending leaves you contemplating the characters' fate. It delves into the poignant theme of family expectations and the challenges of caring for the elderly, shedding light on the often complex reality of these responsibilities.

Rating: 4 stars

Please Leave or I'm Going to Hurt You

This story evokes a sense of melancholy as it delves into the theme of mortality, but it also carries a certain peacefulness despite its darker undertones. It serves as a fitting conclusion to the anthology.

Rating: 2 stars

The Trees Grew Because I Bled There is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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