The Gate Theory by Kaaron Warren contains five stories having to do with gates opening in our lives. We try to hide the pain with various things but what happens when we can’t hide the pain anymore and the gates to our true selves open? This book also contains an introduction by Amanda J. Spedding who talks about learning how to write from Kaaron. Since I wasn’t familiar with Kaaron’s work I enjoyed the intro and it got me excited to read the stories that followed.
The first story in this collection is Purity which is about a girl named Therese who lives with her mother and brother and leads a depressing life. Her mother has a food addiction and the house is always a mess but Therese works hard at a grocery store and dreams of a better life. One day a preacher and his grandson come to the store to by fruit for purification and invite Therese to join the ceremony. She does and gets drawn into a religious cult that thinks laughter is the best medicine. This was an interesting story that gets into how people get brainwashed by cults and how sometimes anything can be better than what you have.
The next story is a supernatural tale called That Girl, it gets into a woman’s quest to improve conditions in a psychiatric institution and she stumbles across an urban legend. I liked how this story describes the island of Fiji and gets into its superstitions. The third story is called Dead Sea Fruit and also touches on the supernatural with the legend of the ash mouth man. The story here follows a female dentist as she visits girls hospitalized in an anorexic’s ward. This was an odd story that was entertaining and different.
The fourth story was the longest in the collection and my favorite called The History Thief. It follows a man named Alvin who has died and now lives as a ghost. He finds that if he touches someone he can become solid and people can see him but he causes the people that he touches to lose their minds and Alvin gets their memories in return. I loved how this story is told, you see that Alvin never had much of a life but now in death he has one but at the sacrifice of everyone he touches. I was wondering if the author was making a social commentary that most people live shallow lives and prefer to live vicariously through other people such as celebrities. This story also has a mystery to it that I enjoyed.
The last story is called The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfalls about a woman who finds rare dogs. The woman is given the task of heading to Fiji to find a rare vampire dog. Once again the author makes Fiji come to life and I loved how the main character is looked down at because she is doing a job that most of her clients think a man should be doing. She doesn’t let this stop her and shows a woman can do as well as a man. Several of the stories here get into the bizarre and at the same time have a good social commentary on such things as women’s roles in society. The Gate Theory is a good taste of Kaaron Warren’s work and shows that she is an excellent writer that can take an odd subject and make it interesting.