Saturday, 4 April 2015

Adrift: A Horror Story That Won’t Leave You Adrift

A Review By: Amelia
I love horror stories. I love Japanese horror stories the most. There’s just something about the subtlety of J-horror that surpasses any other country’s horror. I suppose that’s why the short horror story collection Dark Water drew me right to it like a moth to a flame!

Dark Water is a collection of short horror stories all centred around water in one way or another. The story I’ll be reviewing (my favourite story in the book) is Adrift and it’s is about the crew of a fishing trawler, the Wakashio VII, that happen across an abandoned yacht which has suffered events similar to those that happened to the Mary Celeste. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Mary Celeste was an American merchant brigantine that was found completely abandoned in 1872. No one ever discovered what happened to the crew and it remains an unsolvable mystery. Very spooky inspiration if you ask me!

The author of Dark Water is Koji Suzuki. He’s a Japanese writer who wrote the Ring series, a few books about his hobbies (traveling and motorcycling), and many short stories. He is currently on the selection committee for the Japan Fantasy Novel Award. Even though he’s dabbled in other genres, horror is where he shines.

Dark Water, as mentioned above, is about a fishing boat that comes upon an abandoned yacht. They attach a line to the yacht intending to tow it but a man needs to be on it to. Kazuo Shiraishi volunteers believing that it will be a nice little vacation away from his job on the fishing boat, but when the other members of the crew speak of curses and bad luck, an inkling of fear is born in Kazuo. That fear only grows as he spends time on the yacht and begins to suffer from mood swings and horrific dreams. He struggles to solve the mystery of what happened on the yacht before it takes him too.

By far, the best part of Adrift was the location. The ocean is terrifying without adding abandoned yachts and ghosts on top of it! It’s vast, it’s unforgiving, and if you get lost on it, there’s a slim chance you’re coming back. Plus there’s the yacht. The atmosphere of hopelessness that Suzuki creates on the abandoned yacht is astounding. Kazuo’s mental state begins to deteriorate quickly and he has nowhere to escape too: his life is the yacht. He’s trapped, and you as the reader, are trapped with him.

Dark Water as a whole is sort of hit or miss. A lot of other people really like the story Water Colours but found Adrift not to their liking. Me, I love Adrift and didn’t really care for Water Colours. That’s the great thing about short story collections, you can pick and choose. Personally, I say if you get your hands on this book and can read only one story, read Adrift!

My final thoughts on Adrift are that it’s a damn spooky read! It’s got creepy dreams, a ghost ship, the solitude and inescapable hugeness of the ocean. The writing is smooth, graphic, and suspenseful. Read it at night, alone, and in silence–you won’t be disappointed!

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