Jerusalem Ablaze: Stories of Love and Other Obsessions collects thirteen eclectic works of dark fiction, taking the reader from Los Angeles to the eastern townships of Quebec, and from Tokyo to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem’s Old City a young priest and a dominatrix converse in the dying light; on Oregon’s windswept coast a fragile woman discovers a body washed up on the beach after a storm; and in Post-war Japan a young protégé watches his master’s corpse burn, with bitter thoughts blazing in his mind.
Ortega-Medina’s characters are flawed, broken individuals, trying their best to make sense of their lives as they struggle with sexuality, death, obsession, and religion. His prose is brilliant vibrant, twisting in the dark like tango dancers illuminated by lightening, sometimes sensual, occasionally terrifying, always stylish. His capturing of mood and attitude in a sentence is superb and this debut offers up the delight of his mind as it cavorts around the crepuscular avenues of his imagination.
There’s a touch of humour in these stories but overall the tone is dark, aggressive, full of shadow and unexpected finds, like a beach during a storm. He explores themes of loneliness and escape of facing demons and finding lost loves but his over aching theme is the unpredictability of death and it’s strident proclamation of the passions of the living, a tremendous dichotomy of a read and a delight of a page turner.
Out now £8.99
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