We Are All Completely Fine

Daryl Gregory
We Are All Completely Fine Cover

We Are All Completely Fine


Stare at the sun directly for too long, and it's radiance will blind you. But what if the darkness had a similar effect? What if, when confronted with a situation so terrible, it leaves a taint on the psyche for years? In the case of these five survivors, that's precisely what happened. We Are All Completely Fine is a dark, terrible tale of trying to live a normal life after having stared into the abyss and somehow walking away.

Five different survivors who think no one can ever understand the horror they each experienced. One psychotherapist with the perfect solution to begin their healing. We Are All Completely Fine is the tale of a support group for survivors, the darkness they've faced and the darkness that is yet to come.

If you like your fiction dark, with a steaming side of horror and a rich flavor that makes you savor every bite, then you can't do much better than this. A haunting tale told over the span of weeks, Daryl Gregory effortlessly presents a cast of strange, unique individuals, each as unforgettable as the last, all told in an absorbing, vivid, rich voice that will bind you to his tale and trap you for hours until the last page is turned.

From Stan, the infamous victim of cannibals who lost most of his appendages to Harrison Squared, the survivor of a "hurricane" with a tale nowhere near as natural as the accepted version, each member of his cast of characters have been the victims, or the heroes, of supernatural situations that has forever tainted their lives. Each character is as unique, vibrant and unforgettable as the last. And the truly curious part? Each is at the centre of a tale that, cast in a less horrifying, more heroic light, would make them the protagonist, years after the fact. These people represent the darkness that follow the light that stories normally depict, the trauma, the damage, the sheer corruption that heroics cause and cost.

Daryl Gregory comes highly recommended from many friends, so there's no way I could pass this up when it popped up on NetGalley. A fairly average length novella, he presents an interesting situation that's clearly only the starting point; each succeeding chapter is another turn of the clockwork, ramping up the tension, the anticipation, the darkness, and the mystery as the tale progresses. The story starts slow and mysterious as Gregory slowly unfolds the characters, the damage and the personalities that result from events beyond any the average person can imagine, developing relationships and personalities and bonds between them that provide the first threads from which he spins a disturbingly powerful tale.

Despite my expectations based on the set up laid out in the blurb, I wasn't treated to a series of tales within a tale. Instead, Gregory simply touches on the stories of what these victims survived, and use these stories as jumping boards to really delve into the heart of what his novella is truly about. How did these events affect them? How, years after, do they find it within themselves to live on, after experiencing a darkness ordinary people can never dream about? Do they even manage to do so? But most interestingly of all, how do they move forward? Gregory takes a look at the cost of heroics, and what he presents is nothing short of horrifying.

A darkly imaginative tale that plays with genre standards and gives every story you've ever loved a dark, terrible twist. Gregory plays a lot with ordinary story arcs, even teasing at times that this is how it should be, but in his tale it will be anything but what they normally are. With a rich depth that makes for absorbing reading, fascinating twists as each character reveals their stories, each more terrible than the last, and a careful use of mystery, it's going to be hard to not read this in one go if you decide to read it. Which I definitely recommend.