The Bride of Christ and Other Fictions – Montague Summers
Snuggly Books 2020
I have a collection of books by and about Montague Summers. A few years ago, somebody found a bunch of his writing that was long believed lost. It contained an unpublished collection of ghost stories that was finally put out last year. This collection was really, really cool. The publisher, Snuggly Books, announced that they had enough material for a second collection of unreleased fiction. It was to be titled The Bride of Christ. I ordered a copy as soon as it came out.
In his introduction to the text, Daniel Corrick notes that the pieces in this collection can be divided into four categories: the ghost stories, the Uranian pieces, the society pieces and the titular novella. I’m going to stick with these categories in my discussion too.
The ghost stories are very short little things. They’re not awful or unpleasant to read, but they’re not particularly memorable.
The Uranian pieces are mostly uninteresting. One of them, “The Parting of the Ways”, is ok. It’s a story about a lad falling in love with a lad who falls in love with a woman. It’s not a great story, but it is actually a story which is more than can be said about the other two Uranian “pieces” in here. I was going to say that it’s a bit odd that a self proclaimed Catholic priest would write stories about romantic affairs between teenage boys, but I guess that’s not really true at all.
The “society pieces” are boring garbage. Both are opening chapters to books that Summers never bothered to finish. These are boring stories about rich old British women trying to impress their friends. I read one, but couldn’t bring myself to finish the other. Pure crap.
The Bride of Christ, the longest piece in this book, appears at the start of the collection, but I was excited to read it, so I saved it for last. I was disappointed. It’s the story of a nun who falls in love with Jesus. The priest at her convent tells her this is not good. Just as the story seems to start, it ends. There is supposedly some debate over whether or not this work is complete. If this is the final product, it’s absolute shit. There’s simply not enough in here for it to be interesting. I’m giving Monty the benefit of the doubt and assuming it’s unfinished.
I understand why a publisher would choose to release two books of Summers’ fiction rather than trying to stick it all into one together, and as a collector of his work, I am pretty happy to own this collection of rarities. Honestly though, there isn’t going to be much of interest in this book to anyone other than Summers enthusiasts. I think taking the two ghost stories out of this one and adding them into Six Ghost Stories as an appendix would have made the best book. The leftovers aren’t really worth reading.