Ariadne, I Love you is a haunting new novella from J. Ashley-Smith (The Attic Tragedy) about unrequited love that is both beautiful and seriously creepy. Jude is a down-on-his-luck Alt-Country musician who has landed a comeback gig that brings him back into the life of his former bandmate, Ben, who also happens to be the husband of Jude’s long-lost-but-never-actually-had love Coreen, who has died. He has been invited to use Ben (and formerly Coreen’s) abandoned train getaway in the woods to get ready for the gig, and there things get really intense. Jude’s yearning for Coreen is not the only thing palpable at the train, as something supernatural seems to be at play. This is a talented writer: his beautiful, atmospheric descriptions will transport you, and his ability to ring the emotions out of his readers is superb. Ariadne, I Love You is a great read.
Jude is dragged out of Alt-Country obscurity, out of the dismal loop of booze and sadness baths and the boundless, insatiable loneliness, to scrub up and fly to Australia for a last, desperate comeback tour. Hardly worth getting out of bed for—and he wouldn’t, if it weren’t for Coreen.
But Coreen is dead. And, worse than that, she’s married. Jude’s swan-song tour becomes instead a terminal descent, into the sordid past, into the meaning hidden in forgotten songs, into Coreen’s madness diary, there to waken something far worse than her ghost.
About the Author
J. Ashley-Smith is a British–Australian writer of dark fiction and other materials. His short stories have twice won national competitions and been shortlisted seven times for Aurealis Awards, winning both Best Horror (Old Growth, 2017) and Best Fantasy (The Further Shore, 2018). His novella, The Attic Tragedy, was released by Meerkat Press in 2020 and has since been shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, an Australian Shadows Award, and a Shirley Jackson Award.
J. lives with his wife and two sons in the suburbs of North Canberra, gathering moth dust, tormented by the desolation of telegraph wires.
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