R.B. Russell: The Book I Would Like To Be Buried With…

hill of dreamsThe fourteenth entry in the Bury Me With… series features a relative newcomer to the writing scene, R.B. Russell. However, those not yet familiar with his quiet unease might well recognise him due to his sterling work co-running the Tartarus Press.

“I’d like to take my old battered Corgi paperback The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen. (I would probably have taken the Collected Aickman if Simon hadn’t beaten me to it!)

Machen’s The Hill of Dreams was given to me to read at a time when I was immersed in Camus, Hesse and Sartre, and I read it as an existentialist novel; the story of an artistic outsider who has problems coming to grips with the world around him. What astounded me, though, and set it apart from the other authors I’d been reading, was the great beauty of the language. I found the novel hard-going that first time, but each re-reading has been a joy.

From The Hill of Dreams I went on to Machen’s Tales of Horror and the Supernatural, which baffled me completely. Why would an existentialist write horror stories? Machen, though, doesn’t really fit into any categories. His work suggests that there is more to the world around us than we may ordinarily perceive, and sometimes this revelation offers us great beauty, at other times great horror. An apparently banal marriage may conceal a wonderful, mystical love (A Fragment of Life), or the depths of evil (The Inmost Light). The Hill of Dreams, though, is Machen’s masterpiece, from the resonant opening through to the profound, echoing last line.”

RB RussellAbout R.B. Russell:

R.B. Russell is the author of the short story collection Putting the Pieces in Place and the novella, Bloody Baudelaire (both Ex Occidente, 2009). His second collection, Literary Remains (PS Publishing, 2010) is recently published. Russell‘s stories have appeared in The Best Horror of the Year, Supernatural Tales, Postscripts and The Black Book of Horror. He runs the Tartarus Press with his partner, Rosalie Parker.