The Apoplexy of Beelzebub

Reviews of this Colin Insole story (so far):

Colin Insole masterfully interweaves elements of hagiography, developmental child psychology, and fin-de-siècle paranoia, with a carefully chosen tableau of arresting images. ‘We nail our lies to the ghosts of suspicion.’ This is a magnificent tale, and one of the best I have read this year.

the cruelties of a decayed city whose residents keep elaborate records of the nastier aspects of their history.

“The Apoplexy of Beelzebub” by  Colin Insole ( an extraordinary emerging talent) is a marvelous, dark tale in which a researcher perusing the city archives unearths past tragedies and disreputable events involving her own family.

“The Apoplexy of Beelzebub” consists of many macabre or tragic digressions, miniature myths and fables all woven together with, and at times dominating, the main strand of his narrative to create a grotesque, pullulating effect.

This is dark, disturbing and unrelentingly grim. We can all feel trapped by family, place, convention, culture. In Mr. Insole’s nightmare city, insularity is celebrated, cruelty the greatest tradition, escape the worst sin. This will resonate with anyone who lives in any kind of community, or has a family, and will stick with me for a long time.

Another story, equally chilling in its ability to reveal the power of stories to corrupt our lives, is Colin Insole’s “The Apoplexy of Beelzebub”.  Insole has created a city somewhere between a fantasy city and a city in Britain’s North East, Hull comes to mind, in which a daughter strives to get away from her wicked (step?) mother and the poisonous web of libel and gossip which festers in the city archives.  Is the daughter in control of her destiny of not?  Will she escape the web of words?

Best Short Story – ‘The Apoplexy of Beelzebub’ by Colin Insole

“…the best story in the book, written with a style and panache which seems both in love with the grotesque things that it describes and at the same time to recoil from them, addressing themes of bullying and retribution.” (Black Static # 25 – TTA Press)

Insole’s story, published in the Des Lewis edited The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies, took the prize with its invention, grimy atmosphere and minatory subtext.

Any further reviews after 20 Jan 12 will be shown in comments below.


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5 responses to “The Apoplexy of Beelzebub

  1. The tales that really gripped me were Colin Insole’s ‘The Apoplexy of Beelzebub’, Tony Lovell’s ‘The Follower’, Christopher Morris’s ‘The American Club’ and Reggie Oliver’s ‘Flowers of the Sea.’ But further readings could yield more favourites. I look forward to reading more of Colin Insole’s work for example and anthologies often perform this useful function of giving new writers a chance. D F Lewis has done both reader and writers an invaluable service in editing this collection so well.

  2. “the grim, cruel, ‘Apoplexy of Beelzebub’ by Colin Insole this twistedness is heightened by our familiarity of the overbearing culture, the pressures of family life, the packed lunches.”

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