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REVIEW | A Cup of Tea at the Mouth of Hell (Or, an Account of Catastrophe by Stroudmire McCloud, Demon) – Luke Tarzian

Synopsis from Goodreads:


Order is the focal point around which existence revolves. Without order there is only chaos. And in the halls of Damnation (pronounced Dam-NAWT-ion, thank you kindly) the first sign of impending chaos is a cup of tea made without the water having first been well and properly boiled in a kettle.

Why is this relevant, O nameless narrator, you ask? Who cares about the preparatory order of tea in the fires of Hell?

Lucifer, dear reader. After all, how does one expect to properly greet the newcomers to Hell without having first had a hot cup of tea to bulwark the cold?

Behold The Morning Star, frantic on the annual Morning of Souls, the arrival of Damnation’s newest recruits.

Someone has misplaced the kettle.

5 stars

I am not really sure how to review this given its nature (I’m also a bit out of practice with writing reviews) – but it made me feel me things. Although only small, there is a lot packed in here. I don’t think I’ve read something so raw feeling. I was not prepared, going in not really knowing much at all – but taken in by the title and cover.

The novelette starts off feeling rather whimsical and absurd – Lucifer’s beloved tea kettle is missing, the events are being recounted by a demon, things are not pronounced how you’d think, and some of the imagery produced makes you read the line again (like, did it really just say that? Why, yes. Yes it did). But the tone definitely changes, subtly at times and like a punch in the face at others, as the story melds with reality and serious moments – really highlighting grief and depression for me in such an honest way.

In the last few pages you also come to realise that elements are taken from Tarzian’s own experiences – its not just having moments of clarity but moments of actual real life. It feels like penning the story itself was a way to help move forward, or at least let some of it out – it’s a purge of feelings, a baring of the soul. I really hope it helped.

The writing throughout absolutely captivated me, regardless of the nature of it at the time (absurd or serious). I laughed and I cried, which is definitely a huge feat in such a small space of time, and I will most certainly be delving into more of Luke Tarzian’s works – I cannot wait!

TW: alcohol, drugs, grief, depression, suicidal ideation, parental loss

Release Date:   August 2022

Publisher:   Self

Genre:   Short Story, Absurdist Fantasy, Slice of Life, Non-Fiction (? – autobiographical elements)

Page Count:    Unknown, approx. 90

Cover in colour (as I read on my kindle):


2 responses to “REVIEW | A Cup of Tea at the Mouth of Hell (Or, an Account of Catastrophe by Stroudmire McCloud, Demon) – Luke Tarzian”

  1. Abi of Pellinor avatar
    Abi of Pellinor

    This seems completely weird and utterly whimsical, I’m here for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It really was, and with the personal reflections and experiences on grief, a hard hitter too.


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About Me

Books and food enthusiast. I discovered a love for reading in my late teens, so you’ll see me catching up on older series quite often. I also love to travel around the UK, where I live, and picking up some crafty hobbies – I hope to share snippets of this amongst all the book content. Other interests include gaming, podcasts, drinking too much tea, and trying to personify autumn.

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