If You Go Into The Woods is a collection of two unsettling short stories. The title story is set in Caslav, a small town 60 miles east of Prague, Czech Republic. Jiri Beranek is drawn to a nearby forest, captivated by birds hidden high in the trees. Each time he enters, his desire to see the mysterious creatures is checked by his fear of the dark. When he finally forces himself to go farther, he finds a new reason to be afraid. This story was first published by The Delinquent (UK) then selected by Short Story America for inclusion in their anthology of their best stories of 2010.
The bonus story – The Reset Button – is set in Stockholm, Sweden in the depths of winter. Linus Eriksson, a divorced bachelor living alone in his small one-bedroom apartment, is a man with a memory problem: instead of not being able to remember anyone, nobody can remember him. This story is brand new, exclusively available in this e-book. These two creepy tales have a combined length of 4,000 words, or around 16 book pages.
If You Go Into the Woods collects two independent short stories from author David Gaughran–otherwise known for his work in making indie publishing transparent and accessible to the masses.
The first is a short a about a young boy, who, you know, goes into the woods. Deep into the woods, alone. As one expects when a boy wanders off, he finds a bit of danger, and an unnerving end I won’t spoil.
The second story, the Reset Button, I actually liked more. The protagonist is troubled with an unsatisfactory life, exacerbated by the fact that hardly anyone remembers him. At a bar he’s visited for years, people treat him like a stranger. Same everywhere else. He wishes for a chance to reset his life and make something of it.
What I Liked
The stories are short and read fast. They don’t really have anything to do with each other, they relate thematically, both leaving one with an unsettled feeling. I hardly know what genre to classify such surreal works in, since it’s outside of the normal ones I read.
What I didn’t Like
The stories were so short as to be flash fiction, which means they succeeded in evoking an emotion, but couldn’t go deeper–their very length prevents much definition into the characters themselves. On a minor editorial gripe, a number of sentences begin with gerunds, wherein the protagonist is implied to be two mutually exclusive things at once.
Who I Recommend it For
It’s such a quick read, I’d think anyone could take a chance on them, but especially those interested in modern Twilight-zone twists.