Kitchen Sink Gothic is a short story anthology published in the United Kingdom that includes a story written by my friend, Walter Gascoigne. The title refers to a genre of gothic stories featuring working class characters, stories that range from, to quote the introduction, “darkly humorous to the weirdly strange and occasionally horrific.” Walter’s story is all of the above and much more.
I just received my Kindle copy last night, and I immediately flipped to Walter’s story, “The Sanitation Solution.” I haven’t taken the time yet to read any of the other stories, but I was so taken by “The Sanitation Solution” that I wanted to recommend it immediately. Knowing Walter like I do, I can tell you that the story is, like Walter himself, a unique experience.
Only Walter could preface a story by quoting Charles Manson and close by quoting Shakespeare. I’m not going to spoil anything by describing what happens in between, except to tell you that you’ll experience laughter and disgust and irony – not bad for a short story. He writing is lean and efficient and straight forward, reminding me a little bit of Richard Matheson at his best.
Walter begins the story with these two sentences: “From my vantage point on top of this mountain of trash and maggots, I could see the rats were the size of small dogs. Just last week I saw one tearing apart what was left of a tiny infant.” Perfect. There’s no way anyone can read that and not be compelled to keep reading.
And it only gets better as Walter draws you into his weird world and its twisted logic and strange characters. It’s a testament to Walter’s skill in that only a few pages you are taken away to a world of his imagining.
Walter’s story is only one of many in this collection, and if it were the only one, it’d be worth the price of purchasing the book. I’m hoping that as I read the rest of the book, I’ll find more stories that disgust and amuse me and make me think, even though I know there is only one Walter.