Friday, January 21, 2011

Oil of Dog

Short Story by Ambrose Bierce
Read for Pseudopod by Ben Phillips

Ben Phillips does an awesome southern accent for this story, and it absolutely makes it for me. I actually have owned a physical copy for years, in my complete collection of Bierce's short works. I've read the story before, but with Phillips' voice and accent, I can't imagine it any other way. Another example of a great narrator improving an already great story. He really captures the dry, dark humor, which is what it's all about.

And that's about my summary of the story as well, dry, dark, hilarious, horrible, and brilliant. One of Bierce's best, very short works, it's the story of a boy whose mother runs a back alley abortion clinic and whose father makes medicinal oil from local dogs. Humor and social commentary alongside creepy, vivid descriptions of murder and bubbling cauldrons. You can see a lot of foreshadowing and underlying craft in this story that lesser authors would have missed. And the last line is brilliant, both funny and sad/scary for the kid.
5 disagreeable instances of domestic infelicity out of 5.

Note: This is part of a Pseudopod 200th anniversary doubleshot, along with The Horror of the Heights.

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