REVIEW: “Campfire Songs” by Kimberly Rei

Review of Kimberly Rei, “Campfire Songs”, Luna Station Quarterly 34 (2018): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This is a shadowy story of post-war/post-apocalypse horror. It breaks upon a narrator running from wolves (and other, worse, howling beasts) through the dark and alone. There is no place to hide, and no one left to fight with.

It is, altogether, a relatively typical sort of scene, and the details of the horror are vague enough that I struggled to find anything that made this story distinctive. Even after the narrator, Sura, finds an unexpected house with an unexpected object left behind in it, and we are introduced to one of the antagonists, Auntie, I never quite got into the story. Auntie felt like she could’ve been a complex and majestic character, but all that we got to see of her made her feel a bit flat, cruel and autocratic simply for the sake of it, and not stemming from any deeper reasons or nature.

I do not usually go for horror stories, and this one similarly ended up not really appealing to me.