By Steve Rasnic Tem
Onion Songs is a collection of 42 short stories spanning the writing career of Steve Rasnic Tem, with an emphasis on the bizarre, the offbeat and the meditative. Here Tem confronts the big questions of human experience (aging, death, identity, relationships) like a collector digging deep in the clutter of an attic and pulling out only the most unexpected and most telling finds.
His style tersely poetic, Tem is able to give fine reproductions of the texture of everyday life while writing with all the invention of unrestrained nightmare. The mindscapes contained here, where circus clowns cling to meaningless office jobs, skeletons fall like snow, ‘true unicorns’ rummage in garbage piles, and fires are liable to break out at any moment, first engage us deeply where things ache most, then compel us to keep reading with a beauty that, for all its strangeness, we finally recognize as human.
“Tem lets his characters, their situations, and their emotions creep up slowly on the reader. His style is thoughtful and poetic, and the tension he builds effectively sustains well-crafted plots. He has found a perfect balance between the bizarre and the straight-forward…” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Consistent in quality and diverse in content, as impressive as it is impressionistic… Onion Songs is the strongest collection of short stories that I’ve read in the last year. – Peter Tennant in Black Static
“The 42 stories in this collection showcase the often bizarre, always enlightening works of one of the most distinctive voices in imaginative literature. Tem’s prose paints vivid and compelling images. His stories feature people who contemplate death, sanity, love, loss, and other human issues from original points of view.” –Library Journal