Review: ‘The Train Derails in Boston’ by Jessica McHugh

trainderailsThe Train Derails in Boston by Jessica McHugh
Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing (June 2016)
346 pages; $14.95 paperback; ebook $3.99
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

What in the ever loving…

Okay, the usual review format (hook, blurb, opinion) just ain’t gonna cut it here. Call me unprofessional or just a plain fool if you want. I’m okay with that. When a train runs this far off the rails, honey, you just have to look at the wreckage from a different angle.

I was around for Jessica shilling this gob as erotic horror, a sexy ghost-romp to tickle your nethers. I guess it could be so, if viewed through the lense of Joe D’Mato riffing on a dram or three of Pappy Ed Lee’s finest pearly-pink kroovy after eight-balling the floor scrapings of Slaughterhouse Five. How does one outline the penetrated degradation, both interior and exterior, of this collapsing family unit when it is fractured thusly? I don’t feel right selling you on the grue that trickles in sticky trails down the stucco, the prevalent bits of brain-grey and lung-blue and thick, pulsating intestine any more than I do focusing on the abundant soft supple friction of bodies sliding across, in and through each other.

That’s the thing here, that those are there but they aren’t what matters; amorphous mcguffins catching pupil and outrage alongside confused squealing of disjointed timestreams. It all gets you focused on that sinister southpaw dancing while our dear lady winds the right for a sublime suckerpunch to the chest.

When you are left collapsing, as I was, on the floor and gasping over the intricately drawn web of sorrow and despair and the raw ruin it makes of all of us, that’s when it all coalesces. When I’m neither hard nor shivering, but terrified for all the best-worst reasons and trying to grab that last bit of hope she dangles just outside of reasonable reach and I’m thinking that I’ve found someone picking up where Charlee Jacob and Poppy Z. Brite left us off.

In my eyes, that right there is a beautiful bit of hideousness that I don’t see as much of as I want to.

1 thought on “Review: ‘The Train Derails in Boston’ by Jessica McHugh”

Leave a Reply