'Tracy Fahey is a teller of tales. Normal life tales touched with a frisson of weirdness, that's their strength. A modern-day gothic whose Kafkaesque otherworldly stories are beautifully disturbing. Like a world glimpsed in a dark mirror, their unreality is the stuff of familiarity and strangeness at the same time. Intoxicating and beautiful.'
- Lol Tolhurst (musican and author of Cured) on The Unheimlich Manoeuvre
'Tracy Fahey links ancient and modern Ireland, where land, myth and people are wedded in rhythms that are binding and eternal. The old rituals that the title refers to are violent and arcane.
We imagine ourselves sophisticated creatures but Fahey reveals how fragile that delusion is in the face of malevolent forces that predate us (and I suspect, in the world she conjures, will survive us). Our maladies aren't as modern as we suppose- depression, prejudice, poverty, isolation, and grief are timeless and inescapable. This past of supersition and dark magic isn't ugly though. It's written as though the author is whipering into your ear which gives the work an immediacy and there's beauty in the descriptions of a rain drenched farmyard, the uncovering of a bog body or two men fighting to the death. My personal favourites were The Green Road, They Broke His Bones with Sticks and Stones, Under the Whitethorn, Buried, The Crow War, and The Changeling.'
'The Unheimlich Manoeuvre by Tracy Fahey is a worthy addition to any reader’s collection, especially those who enjoy quiet, literary writing with dark undertones. The final story, ‘Looking For Wildgoose Lodge’, exemplifies this ambition, being a very short, yet very powerful piece which embodies the sadness and transience of human life. It is, quite simply, pure art, and we can only wonder what works this writer will produce in the coming years.'
'“New Music for Old Rituals” is primarily a folk horror collection, but it is far more than that. Tracy Fahey takes the legends, rituals and superstitions of her homeland and interweaves them into new tales which reflect the horrors, anxieties and sadness that can plague our modern lives. Each tale is prefixed with a photograph taken by Tracy to reflect the concept of the following story. The photographs have a beautiful haunting imagery, and as all of them have been taken within a thirty minute drive of her home, so they truly reflect the hidden magic which can still be found in Ireland. Following each of her tales is a succinct explanation of the history and mythology which has inspired each tale. The stories that make up “New Music for Old Rituals” are both beautifully written and varied in style. My own personal favourite “The Changeling” was one of the best short stories I have read this year. The story is quietly unveiled by the elderly narrator, making the ending even more horrific and visceral when revealed. Tracy Fahey is a master at lulling you into a false sense of security before revealing the horror beneath. So much so, that by the end of the book, you’re read the stories as if you are in some kind of uncanny valley, everything looks normal, it all seems fine; but you just know that it isn’t quite right, that everything is just off kilter....The main warning though that this collection imparts, is that it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you live, the horrors and fears which infect us never change. Humanity fears change, it fears the outsider; and you – whoever you are – will always be an outsider.'
- Penny Jones (author of Along The Long Road) on New Music For Old Rituals
...this debut collection of modern, Gothic short stories by Irish academic Tracy Fahey – a relatively new voice on the British and Irish horror scene – is hugely impressive and deserves as wide an audience as possible...Fahey’s horrors aren’t obvious, or monstrous, or especially bloody. They are subtle, residing on the fringes of these pages, usually not directly observed or understood but felt, distinctly and, for her generally female character/narrators, traumatically and overwhelmingly.'
'Single author collections -especially first ones - can be erratic affairs, a wildly mixed bag, the result of a new author experimenting, trying to find their won voice through different styles. Tracy Fahey doesn't have that issue. Her voice is her own and her obsessions plainly evident. There are themes linking these tales - quiet desperation, domestic disharmony, the troubling nature of the uncanny - but no repetition. Each well-crafted story throws a different light on weirdly disconcerting moments, hidden in the every day. From straight-up ghost stories like 'Tracing the Spectre' to the more deftly psychological 'Papering Over the Cracks' to the gothic tragedy (in a modern day setting) of 'Sealed', Fahey succeeds, time and again, in creating a perfect little capsule exploring her central thesis in a way that is different from all the rest...In short, this is a collection carefully constructed to unsettle and disturb in strange and subtle ways. It succeeds.
- John McNee (author of Grudge Punk and Prince of Nightmares on The Unheimlich Manoeuvre)
'Tracy Fahey has an enviable talent for creating real-seeming characters with authentic problems and dilemmas. Her stories tend to hook the reader and not let go. Even the final story in the collection, which is really more of a series of vignettes with limited plot, is relentlessly readable....Most impressively, the quality of the stories ranges between "good", "great" and "exceptional"....at her best (in a story about a young mother), Tracy Fahey's writing is world class....
if you can get your hands on this book somehow, do. It is superb.'