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Granta 117 — Horror

Happy Halloween!  If you’re looking for a bit of literary horror, you can’t do much better than the Granta 117, the horror issue.  This issue features “horror” writing from some writers whose names might spring up when “horror” is mentioned, but there are also many I never would have thought of in this context.  Here are the contents:

  • “False Blood” by Will Self
  • “Your Birthday Has Come and Gone” by Paul Auster
  • “Poem” by D.A. Powell
  • “Brass” by Joy Williams
  • “The Starveling” by Don DeLillo
  • “The Mission” by Tom Bamforth
  • “She Murdered Mortal He” by Sarah Hall
  • “A Garden of Illuminating Existence” by Kanitta Meechubot
  • “Deng’s Dogs” by Santiago Roncagliolo
  • “The Infamous Bengal Ming” by Rajesh Parameswaran
  • “The Ground Floor” by Daniel Alarcón
  • “Insatiable” by Mark Doty
  • “The Colonel’s Son” by Roberto Bolaño
  • “The Dune” by Stephen King
  • “Diem Perdidi” by Julie Otsuka

Now, when I say “literary” horror, I don’t necessarily mean what most people would think of when they hear the word “horror.”  Let me explain.  When I got the issue, I flipped through it and saw that Alarcón’s story was short.  I’ve only read one thing by him, but I liked it and wondered how on earth he’d do with a horror story.  I wasn’t disappointed in the story, which takes us to where a bunch of actors are putting on a fight club, but it was obvious that “horror” was being interpreted broadly.  Not the creepy willies I’d expected, but not a bad thing in my opinion.

I then went to the beginning and read Will Self’s “False Blood.”  Again, horror was being interpreted loosely, but this was an astonishing bit of personal nonfiction where Self tells about a blood condition he’s been suffering through.  The writing is exquisite, and the exploration of addiction is truly horrific.  You can read a shorter version of the essay at the Guardian website here.

From what others say, there are some classic creepy stories here, but I am still working through it.  I suggest you do the same!

2 thoughts on “Granta 117 — Horror”

  1. leroyhunter says:

    I read Self’s article when the Guardian ran it Trevor, and thought it was exceptional. I have mixed feelings about Self but all the qualities you mention chimed with me. I didn’t, however, realise it was an abridged version. For the full version and the other stuff you list it sounds like this Granta is worth an investment.

  2. Trevor says:

    I think this Granta is worth the investment. Thankfully, I think ghost stories are appropriate from early October through New Year’s Day, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy the collection!

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