Author: Elizabeth Engstrom
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: September 01, 1992
Elizabeth Engstrom is a talented and original writer of dark fantasy who uses the trappings of speculative fiction to illuminate human emotion and the human condition. Nothing in an Engstrom story is what it first appears to be, yet at its core each tale has the ring of truth.
Nightmare Flower is Engstrom's first major collection, containing eighteen short works plus a novelette, "Fogarty & Fogarty," and a short novel, "Project Stone." The stories span a wide range of styles and genres, varying from the almost fable-like simplicity of "The Pan Man" to the spine-chilling horror of "The Jeweler's Thumb is Turning Green."
Love - what people will do to get it and keep it, the devastations of the loss or betrayal of love, the transformation of love to obsession - Love in all its different forms - lies at the heart of several of Engstrom's eloquent and quietly unnerving tales, including "Fogarty & Fogarty" and the collection's title story, "Nightmare Flower."
In "Rivering" a woman confronts grief; in "Genetically Predisposed" a man, a woman, and a snake form a new version of the old, eternal triangle. "Quiet Meditation" reveals the little lies that make life bearable; "The Old Woman Upstairs" studies the complex relationship between mother and daughter.
Each of these stories is a sideways glimpse of the world, a slant on life both moving and thought-provoking.