- Paperback: 130 pages
- Publisher: Bloodshot Books (April 13, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1947522086
- ISBN-13: 978-1947522084
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An elderly funeral home worker, struggling with the loss of his wife, finds an unnatural attraction to a corpse at work resembling his late bride in her younger years.
A story of desperation, loneliness and letting go.
I had not read any of Chad Lutzke’s works before I read, “Stirring the Sheets.” He was introduced to me through a podcast, “Books in the Freezer” that named “Stirring the Sheets” the best novella of the year. The premise is intriguing. A widower who works at a funeral home gets a body that reminds him of his dead wife. So he takes her home. This seems to be such a great horror novel premise, but the direction that Lutzke takes is so genuine and heartbreaking that I classify this more as a love story than a horror story. I cannot recommend this enough.
I do not want to get into too many spoilers so I will discuss the title. “Stirring the Sheets.” Emmett, the main character, loses his wife after 50 years of marriage. He is barely functioning and has not touched the bed since his wife last slept there. He then lays the corpse that he brings home on the sheets, thus changing everything. The body that Emmett steals represents so much in Emmett’s life and healing. She has become the bridge that he needs to move forward with his life. “Stirring the Sheets” not only is the physical changing of the sheets that have now been moved due to his lying the body on the bed but the emotional changing that happens inside of Emmett due to this event.
Lutzke uses the body as a metaphor and as help. It reminds me of the movie “Lars and the Real Girl” where the title character, Lars, gets a sex doll to be his girlfriend. Not that they have the same issues (Lars is driven by a disorder whereas Emmett is directed by grief) but the unexpected wholesomeness of the relationships are reflective of one another. I enjoyed both, and “Stirring the Sheets” is a novella I would recommend to anyone, even those who do not like horror at all. The way that Lutzke writes this story is impressive and motivates me to seek out his other works and read them all.