S.P. Miskowski’s Stag in Flight is the latest from Dim Shores, the excellent boutique press operated by Sam Cowan.
A story of twisted psychology, in which a lonely and depressed unemployed library, Benny, finds his way into therapy, which seems less designed to heal his pain or grant him relief than for his weirdly self-focused therapist Dot to tell stories about her own excellent life, her history and her family, accentuating all the many ways in which Benny’s weakness, inferiority, pain and loneliness stand in opposition to her success, her bright creativity and fulfilling relationships. In one such therapy session, Benny encounters a stag beetle, and in his surprise, has a reaction to it that he then questions. Later, alone in his apartment again, he begins to feel connected to the image of the beetle, and even strengthened by emulation of its example.
Wonderfully dark, strangely moody and sad, rich with the anguish of unwanted solitude and fear a life of no possibilities or outlets available. S.P. Miskowski was already one of my favorite writers on the strength of her Skillute Cycle (the novel Knock Knock and the trio of connected novellas), and Stag in Flight certainly at least matches her earlier work in quality.
It remains available for purchase (see link to Dim Shores below), though there aren’t many left, and when they’re gone, they’re gone!
Stag in Flight on Goodreads:
Stag in Flight on Dim Shores: