Tales of Thread is a visceral collection of inspired tales whose gravity and emotional depth would meet the approval of the most renowned ancient playwrights.
Hegeleen Kissel has created a collection of short stories and poems that are a mix of mythology retellings and brand-new stories pulled from the rich history of ancient Greece. This collection could very well be inspired by the Muses themselves. Her master of prose captures the raw human emotion in every character in these stories, and her knowledge of the ancient Greek world and culture resonates in every scene.
Her style of writing, in particular, drew me in. Most of the stories are written in first person, and the way she has chosen to combine monologue, dialogue, and exposition made me feel like everything was actually happening to me, like I was really the character. Which made the horrific choices some of them make all the more gut-wrenching and visceral.
Let me be clear, this is not a collection for the faint of heart. There are very adult themes and graphic descriptions in some of these stories that are brutal in their beautiful execution. I’m just amazed, honestly.
It’s rare that I read a short story collection where I love every single story, but I will enthusiastically add Tales of Thread to that small list. There are three stories in particular that invoked such strong emotional reactions from me: “The Boy”, “Tales of Thread”, and “XXIV”. I am a mother, and oh. These stories hit me hard. All in unique ways.
A fourth story I want to mention is “The World Beneath”, which I found to be extremely unique and interesting; a refreshing twist on the myth of the Minotaur that depicted a progression of insanity so natural that it had me overanalyzing every thought I had for the next 24 hours.
The book is also visually appealing. Each chapter has a beautiful graphic on its chapter title page. It is clear that Kissel has put an enormous amount of effort into this collection and presentation, and it is gorgeous. My only hope is that she will offer this as a physical book because I will buy it so quickly to display proudly on my shelves and re-read on those days when I need my heart ripped out of my chest and fed back to me to remind me I’m still alive.
When I say I read this in one sit down, I mean I couldn’t read this fast enough. I’m no stranger to the mythical tales and plays of ancient Greece. They’re tragic, they’re heartbreaking, they make you want to scream, they make you want to cry, sometimes laugh, and Tales of Thread captures all of that and transports you to the scene of the crime. If you love ancient Greek mythology, you must read this book and add it your collection.
Tales of Thread will be available to purchase on 14 August, so mark your calendars!