Borderline is an absolutely brilliant book about mental illness. Millie, our protagonist, suffers from borderline personality disorder, and Baker finds a delicate balance between showing and telling. This draws the reader into a character who knows why they do the things they do, but are only sometimes able to stop themselves. The details and the asides are so real, from mindfulness lessons to therapy, that I was unsurprised to see the author had personal familiarity with such conditions.
I did not like the last laundry book, the Annihilation Score. The previous laundry files entries were an ungodly hybrid of espionage, Cthulhu, and bureaucracy; a series where a character was as likely to save the world from tentacled horrors as be disciplined for not filling out leave forms correctly. The last book was a logical continuation, but swapped the espionage for super-heroics, and in doing so, lost some of its scrappy charm.
This collection of stories is best described as horror based magical realism of poor and working class America (except for The Crevasse, which is a straight up riff on the Mountains of Madness). Most of the plots involve people crushed by poverty or living on the edge of it, encountering something supernatural, usually a monster, that throws into relief the fact that their lives were already horrific, and being terrorised, killed, or even just encountering the supernatural doesn’t change that appreciably. Not all the stories are hopeless, but that’s usually the way to bet.
This fits into the most interesting category of book for me, well crafted, interesting, deep, and entirely not to my tastes. This is a good collection of stories, and I did not like it.
Recommended for people who think magical realism would be better if it was more depressing.