An Anecdote at Dinner by Gabriel Fitzpatrick is a welcome change from the vampire genre where the shine of glitter seems to have blinded those who seek out the more traditional vampire canon. It's about time.
I've been a long time fan of the vampire; cutting my teeth (if you will) on movies like Gary Oldman's Dracula and reading about the notorious vampire Lestat, for example. So while I love the idea of what Gabriel tried to do here, I couldn't fall in love with the nameless vampire narrator. The cold detachment was perfectly executed (pardon me again for the puns) but the POV character lacked the allure of the beautiful, but deadly seductive tragic monster I enjoy reading about. The humanity is completely gone from him and so he loses his power to enchant.
Gabriel is definitely on the right track here with An Anecdote, but when I got to the end, I felt nothing except a bit startled. Perhaps that emptiness was the point of this avant garde story. I suspect fans of true horror would have a much better appreciation for it.
I dug the treatment of the vampire overall, but I have to take away some points for the cold, impersonal narrative that left me feeling too detached. Three and a half coffees.
The Centurion's Commencement, also by Gabriel, is a leap across time from the previous short. I have to admit that I'm a little perplexed by this story. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I just don't know what to think about it as a take away. It's almost dread slice of life, yet there's this stark otherworldness about it that skims along just below the surface--highlighted by the introduction of the vampire character. This transforms a perfectly ordinary tale into a somewhat odd excursion.
Having read three of Gabriel's stories now, I've come to expect the unexpected with his twisty, pop in your face endings. Still, knowing ahead of time something odd is going to happen doesn't really prepare you for the oddness, because he has a talent for taking 180 turns at the last moment. Even though the prose remains somewhat distant, I did feel the centurion's apathy; like a struck match throw sparks.
Gabriel's work as a body, in my opinion, is not for mass consumption, but more for tasty little nibbles, a piece at a time over time.
This particular treat of a story gets five out of five coffees for being fabulously what it is. Even if I can't quite figure that out; I did enjoy reading it.
Where to find his work: