A Cup of Tea at the Mouth of Hell by Luke Tarzian (Reviewed by Matthew Higgins)

 Book Review: A Cup of Tea at the Mouth of Hell by Luke Tarzian

a cup of tea at the mouth of hell by Luke Tarzian

Buy A Cup of Tea at the Mouth of Hell here – U.S. | U.K.

Official Author Website


OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Fantasy Author. Long Doggo Enthusiast. Snoot Booper. Shouter of Profanities. Drinker of Whiskey.


OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: BRIEFLY, A WORD ABOUT ORDER

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.



FORMAT/INFO: A Cup of Tea at the Mouth of Hell by Luke Tarzian was published in August 2022 and contains 62 pages.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: What begins as a fun maelstrom of chaos within the realm of hell slowly unfurls into a poignant exploration of grief and trauma in Luke Tarzian’s ‘ A cup of tea at the mouth of hell’.

A novella sized read, it packs a punch far above its physical weight, using the prose to beguile us into the world of this tale, playing with words in an almost psychedelic manner at times. It’s weird yet compelling, humorous yet heart-breaking, the sort of read one has to slowly ponder as you wonder ‘ WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED’ and then feel the gentle fall of tears caress your face.

Both emotional and trippy, Luke serves up what he does best, emotional chaos.

“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.”

Thus, this nutty little novella begins. Any reader who embarks on this journey will have no idea where this is about to go, I certainly didn’t! But as life has taught me, I embraced the chaos and hunkered down to dive into what will certainly be a read I return to, not least because there’s so much to unpack within its relatively small number of pages.

Before we go any further, I must add how much an admirer I am of Luke’s prose. There were many quotable lines within, for example

“ Tea is the flame with which we thaw the cold uncertainty of death.”

It’s not a purple prose but a carefully curated string of sentences that weave together in an almost lyrical rhythm at times. The warmth of Luke’s heart shines through his humour which is honestly off the charts insane, but as a purveyor of chaotic nonsense myself it really made me laugh. For example, the full version of the previous quote is

“Tea is the flame with which we thaw the cold uncertainty of death.’ I know. It was the very first thing I was told when I arrived however many millennia ago. It’s also on every one of your holiday cards.”


In fact, whilst the start of the novella is a very comedic tone written in Luke’s trademark absurdist fashion, this is the start of a gentle lull into the cold embrace of grief and trauma. Luke inhibits his own narration, and one gets the sense that this story is extremely personally involved with Luke himself in an almost interchangeable manner.

This rawness, the unyielding depictions of the way depression intermingled with grief messes with your mind builds Luke’s narrative to an emotional poignancy that will surely catch even the harshest of readers.



CONCLUSION: I longingly anticipate being able to fit Luke’s other works into my never-ending TBR at the earliest opportunity after such a wonderful entry into his authorial endeavours. 


Before I sign off, I will leave you with two of my favourite quotes from this novella to show you what a special read it truly is.

“Grief caresses his cheek and it feels like an evening autumn breeze. At first soothing, but quickly melancholy. Such is the way of Grief, of those chill and silent nights when maybe the only sound you hear is the faint rustle of dry leaves stirring memories of things and people you once loved who left you broken- hearted.”

“But trauma is ever- shifting. It is not a memory but a reaction to a memory.”

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