July 18, 2014 5:35 pm

‘Through the Woods’, by Emily Carroll

A debut graphic collection of eerie tales with a lasting effect

Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll, Faber, RRP£12.99, 208 pages

Canadian comics writer Emily Carroll has produced a graphic debut that blends the gothic strangeness of Tim Burton with the macabre illustrations of Edward Gorey to create a wonderfully chilling collection of tales.

Across drawings in a palette of blacks and greys with splashes of blood red, the tales unfold. The largely female cast is threatened not by a purely physical terror but by seemingly psychological conditions made spookily present.

In the first tale, a girl narrates the mysterious disappearance of her two sisters after her father goes hunting. Elsewhere, a disabled bookworm visits her brother and his new wife only to discover something lurking in the woods, and a man claims to have killed his brother – only for him to turn up unscathed.

Eschewing neat endings, Carroll leaves lingering questions: how much is real and how much imagination? Is the haunting just guilt, grief, loneliness, psychosis or something supernatural? Her eerie tales will haunt you.

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