Adam McOmber drags each and every reader into a thick, mysterious fog in his latest collection, My House Gathers Desires. McOmber’s stories quite literally have a life of their own, and the subject matter is relevant and important. This collection takes sexual identity and gender and gives them life in the stories and fables of old, while ultimately showing that there is still a light at the end of the tunnel.
Most people would respond similarly when asked what they think of when they hear someone say the Holy Trinity. McOmber takes this familiarity and uses it to tell a different story in “Notes on Inversion.” The story itself is creative in form, and the message has a life of its own. The responses to Psychiatrist Kraft-Ebbing’s “Psychopathia Sexualis” are erotic and tortured. One response tells the story of three male prisoners who find solace and love in their cramped cell before the queer trinity is brutally put to death.
“The Coil” tells the story of two male companions hunting made up creatures. Arthur wants to spend more time with Guyon, so he’s “invented all the fabulous things that populate their quests.” Until, that is, they come upon a creature in a cave that is the manifestation of Arthur’s deepest desires. He must look the creature in its blank eyes and face his hidden emotions head on.
Arnaud Eisler finds himself wandering through a traveling museum looking for the handsome boy he caught a glimpse of. He doesn’t have any interest is looking at all the old things that are on display, “he’s more interested in his search for beauty.” When he finds the nameless boy, they wander through the museum hardly stopping to look at the displays until they descend a staircase to find something—or rather someone—lying on the floor. The being looks a lot like Arnaud, and the reader is left to interpret the real meaning behind this museum exhibit.
In “Hydrophobia” Jane meets a little boy while she is relaxing next to the lake. He is shy to approach at first, but when she starts bringing him soda every day, he warms up to her presence. Jane doesn’t have children, so the visits warm her heart . . . at first. The boy starts telling her horrific stories of a decaying woman in a cave. Her curiosity outweighs her worry, so she lets the little boy lead her into this cave. She isn’t prepared for the horrors that awaits her.
Adam McOmber has written a collection of stories that will both haunt and entertain anyone that picks it up. His ability to take present day issues and transport them into the historical and mythical past is breathtaking and unbelievably original. There is no doubt that this collection will resonate deeply with everyone who traverses its pages. My House Gathers Desires won’t soon be forgotten.