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Deep Dark Fears

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Deep Dark Fears back

Fran Krause


Page 45 Review by Stephen

"Every time I tell someone "I love you", my soul is split in half. I worry that someday, I'll have none left."

No, that's what happens when you stop telling people you love them.

The premise for this cute little hardcover is pretty straight forward and similar to Jesse Reklaw's THE NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE. There Reklaw illustrated summaries of other people's dreams. Here Krause does much the same thing for fears, superstitions and anxieties which are often instilled by others, so be warned that this may prove contagious.

Jonathan's told his daughter so many inventive and elaborate porkies to keep her good and quiet that I'm surprised she's not a neurotic mess.

In Fear #10 (of 101, only four belonging to Krause himself), a young kid eats a freshly picked blackberry only to be told by an older lad that the seeds would never digest but grow as thorny vines inside his arteries which would then turn to wood making it unbearable for him to move.

"He added that it would be very expensive to treat, so better not to bother my parents about anything and just deal with it."

I love that he's then patted reassuringly on the head by the big boy.

"I didn't sleep for weeks."

The full-colour, expressive illustrations are as "simple" as Jeffrey Brown's and there's a bit of Dan Berry in evidence as well. I say "illustrations" but often their interpretations too.

Fear #7 is a pretty sure sign that someone's read or seen The Omen II which had no small effect on myself aged eleven, either. Some like #44 are purely physical. I too have a fear of gouging my eyes out but in my case it's on our industrial-sized stapler with the most enormous handle. For Lizzie it's on wrought iron fences after skidding on ice. Hilariously she worries "it'll be too slippery to free myself". Bit late to mind about, I'd have thought.

Others are more surreal. "I used to think that when I closed a book, all the characters would freeze in place..." begins #35 as an Austen-era young lady in a fulsome, floor length dress is depicted playing badminton on the lawn. "...And if I left them for too long," it continues, "they could get up to mischief." It's actually the shuttlecock and racket that have frozen in place, mid-air, leaving the lovely to dash to off and - I don't know - dote on some snooty single man in possession of a good fortune.

This was quite cute:

"My Mom said she had to be careful of bright lights while driving. At night, someone's high beams might blind you. I thought she meant permanently, so I shut my eyes and prepared, in case my Mom was blinded and I had to take the wheel." Aged 8.

TOMBOY and ALONE FOREVER's Liz Prince's Fear #47 is typically self-conscious and elaborate, and Krause portrait of Liz's self-portrait is very much on the money:

"Death is a theatre, full of everyone you've ever met, watching a real-time replay of your life, with your every thought narrated out loud."

Crikey. Lastly #85 reminded me of one of my own childhood fears when, after watching a Boris Karloff or Hammer Horror film late at night I would switch off the living room light whilst already out of the door and in the hall but still staring carefully in, then retreat in similar fashion upstairs, always switching off the lights behind rather than ahead of me.

I don't think I have fears any longer if you discount cliff edges, sharks and smashing my teeth in. Although I do wish we hadn't bought that bloody stapler.
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