Cathedrals will fall, the river will run red... and THE BIRD will be SLAUGHTERED!

BOOK REVIEW: Haunted Grave and Other Stories: Eight Tales of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction from the African Continent

– By Dave Dubrow

Some books just tell you what they’re all about from the title, like Haunted Grave and Other Stories: Eight Tales of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction from the African Continent by Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso. With a name like that, you’d think you would know what you’re going to get when you first crack the book, but you’d be wrong. There’s some strange, original stuff in here, between the thematic elements and the style of writing: Chukwunonso combines Western story structure with vivid descriptions of the raw, aching difficulties of life in Africa in his own inimitable fashion.

The first story, Eaters of Flesh, is a slow build-up of dread, culminating in a horrifying ending that is more hinted at than described. It’s a good introduction to Chukwononso’s style of writing, and sets the stage for other, darker tales.

The theme of AIDS figures prominently throughout the anthology, which makes sense considering how the disease has ravaged Africa. In the dystopian story The Last Man Standing, AIDS has transformed into a far deadlier illness called ADAIDS, which annihilates the populace of Nigeria. In To Love is Strange, the horrible curse laid upon a poor family of women becomes a metaphor for both AIDS and sexual promiscuity. Conspiracy theories about deliberate infection of the virus by medical professionals get a workout in The Game of AIDS.

More traditional horrors are introduced in Exorcism and the eponymous Haunted Grave, though both of these stories have their own surprises. A Cursed City is a dark fantasy tale, of sorts, with the Biblical theme of betrayal a la the story of King David, and the clash between tribal traditions and Western conqueror mores.

Nowhere in the anthology is the theme of Western colonialism given a greater workout than in The Green Race, describing man’s contact with primitive Martians. There’s a depth of resentment to it, a wellspring of anger that screams through the digital page.

Do you want to challenge yourself? Take a look at the world from a different perspective? While Haunted Grave isn’t a transformative book, it is an entertaining one, and in a genre chock-a-block with vampires, sociopathic home-invasion slashers, and zombie apocalypses, you owe it to yourself to step out onto the boundaries every once in a while. The edges are what really define the genre, after all. Try this out.


One Response to BOOK REVIEW: Haunted Grave and Other Stories: Eight Tales of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction from the African Continent

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Slaughtered Bird Films’ horror short film, BURN, nabs festival awards!
We don’t like to blow our own trumpets here at The Slaughtered Bird but, y’know, FUCK IT – we’re damn proud of our debut film production, BURN, created in collaboration with Dragon Egg Media! Since post-production finished last year, our 15-minute short has received numerous excellent reviews, been busy finding its feet on the festival circuit and gratefully receiving many Official Selection laurels from around the world, and now it’s picked up its first award… or three! Read on...
INTERVIEW: David Naughton
untitled It’s not every day you get to speak to the lead actor in possibly your favourite horror film of all time. Especially on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are usually rubbish! David Naughton should need no introduction to horror fans. Back in 1981, An American Werewolf In London had unprepared cinema goers laughing heartily one second and jumping out of their seats in terror the next. Its tale of two young American tourists coming face-to-teeth with a legendary lycanthropic beast perfectly married a genuinely funny script with razor sharp editing, groundbreaking special effects and a flawless cast to create a monster movie that is still many people’s benchmark today Read on...
Advertise HERE!
CQJR7SyWwAADBd_ We currently have advertising space available at very reasonable rates, so if you have a product you want to let people know about then please email us at with your needs and we can give you more info. Read on...