Author: Allie Burke
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Dark Literary Fiction
Release Date: Sept 9 2014
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
From the author of the bestselling genre-defining Enchanters series, comes a new literary tour de force about Emily, a young woman balancing two worlds between her fingertips: the one that is real to her and the one that is real to everyone else…
The question is: which one will she choose?
Never romanticizing what it means to be a twenty-something schizophrenic in a world broken by normalcy and half-baked fairytales, Allie Burke’s latest novel unites Emily and her world at large spanning from the streets of Russia, to the sheets of her bed, to the idiosyncratic comfort she gets from worlds that don’t exist at all.
Woven with angst and darkness, bursting with heartache, Paper Souls tells of the irreparably damaged and broken, and how they survive.
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An American novelist, book critic, and magazine editor from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.
Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.
From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.
Emily was four when the universe yanked her childhood from her grasp.
She was in a room in a location she didn’t remember. Her mother, Karla, had moved her around too much after she had left Emily’s father for her to remember every house they lived in, every school she went to. It was every year, sometimes twice or three times in a year.
Emily was lying in bed. It was dark—her mother didn’t believe in night lights for four year olds, apparently. She wasn’t scared of the dark at that time, just as she didn’t fear it now. Her life had been a sandwich of fear. With all the bad parts trapped on the inside.
She couldn’t sleep when she was a child. From those corners of fear, amongst the photos on the walls, the wall paint, the walls themselves, emerged shadows. Dark, strange, mysterious, bizarre, horrific shadows. They clawed at the walls, crawling downward and inching towards the floor. Beneath her bed was a pool of blackness that looked to her like the sticky pools at the La Brea Tar Pits. Except, the carpet in her childhood room was white.
They spoke to her. They still do. It’s in a language that doesn’t exist, in a tone that no person trying to get the message across would ever use. A dark, deep man’s voice whispers the words Emily cannot understand. At four years old, his imaginary lips were right next to her ear, whooshing the words at her like a violent wind, threatening to dry out her skin until it cracked open and let him inside.
Emily couldn’t remember what she did at the time; how she reacted. She didn’t remember being scared, but she was four. And she used to have these panic attacks in the middle of the night, so . . . who knows.
She had told Seth about them once. She was twenty-three. He was scared. He shook his head and told her to stop talking because she was freaking him out. She told her mom, too, in her early twenties. Karla, Emily’s mother, couldn’t believe that she didn’t notice what her daughter was going through. She kind of laughed, then. It was strange to Emily how a conversation about her hearing voices at four years old turned into a conversation about Karla being a shitty mother and inevitably earned a giggle. Even stranger is the fact that she would think it was strange, since that’s the only kind of behavior Emily had ever known from a mother.
Now, the voices just irritated her. Not when she’s home, she doesn’t care about sleep; she’ll sleep when she’s dead. But in public, in broad daylight? When she was in college, or at Danielle’s, at Shore? She struggled. To be normal. To appear normal. But she wasn’t scared of the voices now.
She connected the comfort her own insanity brought her with the warm sensation she felt in her chest when she looked at Brendan. He didn’t scare her. People, in general, scared her, but Brendan Tanner didn’t.