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Granta 117: Horror (2011)

by John Freeman (Editor)

Other authors: Daniel Alarcon (Contributor), Paul Auster (Contributor), Tom Bamforth (Contributor), Roberto Bolaño (Contributor), Don DeLillo (Contributor)10 more, Mark Doty (Contributor), Sarah Hall (Contributor), Stephen King (Contributor), Kanitta Meechubot (Contributor), Julie Otsuka (Contributor), Rajesh Parameswaran (Contributor), D. A. Powell (Contributor), Santiago Roncagliolo (Contributor), Will Self (Contributor), Joy Williams (Contributor)

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1655147,568 (3.37)21
From realities to nightmares, from neighbours with dark secrets to minds that come unhinged, Granta 117 explores a universal state of being.
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» See also 21 mentions

English (4)  Italian (1)  All languages (5)
Showing 4 of 4
Let's get one thing out of the way before we go any further. There is little of what most people would call "horror" here. Granta is a magazine for really hip smart people who don't stoop to reading genre writing. So don't buy this if you want to read stories about spooks and zombies, or creepy things, etc. Unless you want to wade through a bunch of other non-horror stuff too. Okay, there is one zombie story. Caveat emptor.

It's actually kind of sad that Granta feels they need to file these pieces under any sort of label since it creates an expectation that could cause one to miss the point. What we do have here is a book/magazine of very, very good short fiction, non-fiction, and art that is interesting and sometimes disturbing.

There are 4 or 5 really good stories here, about half the book. As always in Granta, the writing is good even when the subject matter is weak. If I miss a few it is because they were forgettable. I hate most poetry so I'll skip the poem.

False Blood is a pretty good autobiographical essay by Will Self about a guy who has to have a pint of tomato sauce removed from his veins every week because of some disease he has. Oh, he hates needles too. Yuck.

Your Birthday Has Come And Gone - pointless, meandering piece that had one paragraph that stretched on for eight pages.

Brass by Joy Williams is a real, actual horror story, although the payoff won't come until the penultimate paragraph. Good stuff.

The Starveling - I hated this story from the get go and I was right in the end. Overlong and with a plot hole so wide you could fly the space shuttle through it.

The Mission - depressing non-fiction about Somalia. Certainly horrifying but not HORROR.

She Murdered Mortal He - I'm sure this is just one of those stories I'm too stupid to get. Pretty good build-up, but it turns out to be a dog bites man story, literally. Lots of symbolism, ooooh.

Nice artwork in the middle.

Deng's Dogs - another depressing (non-fiction?) tale about Peru. Well told and grim, but not much different than anything you would see in The Atlantic.

The Infamous Bengal Ming - Now we're talkin'. This is a story told from the point of view of a tiger in a zoo. I kid you not. Sounds corny. I was pretty skeptical when I started but this turned out to be a very original fantastic horror story. The sort of story Saki would write.

The Ground Floor - Goofy.

Insatiable - In my opinion a strained attempt to connect Dracula to The Leaves of Grass (Hey, I don't make this stuff up). Sure they are both creepy, but I don't buy the connection. Like something you would turn in for an English final exam to show how clever you are.

The Colonel's Son - You knew Granta was going to put one REAL horror story in just to show they really do get it, and it's so campy and fun to be weird and creepy, and aren't we crazy and edgy here. Zombie mayhem. Enjoy it even though you know why they threw it in.

Then, we get the Stephen King story, another Granta nod to the real genre here. A good story, not a great story. Actually, a pretty good old fashioned horror story.

Unfortunately, instead of finishing on a high note there is one more clinker at the end; a tedious exposition of Alzheimer's disease that goes: "She remembers...She doesn't remember...," for page after page. There's more to it than that, of course, but the repetitive style just doesn't engage the reader at all.

Enough blather...Worth reading, just don't get suckered. ( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
Favourite writers and stories in this: Sarah Hall, Santiago Roncagliolo, Stephen King, Mark Doty. ( )
  allison.sivak | Aug 17, 2013 |
So very disappointing. ( )
  PSCottier | Mar 18, 2012 |
Highlights:
Brass - Joy Williams.
The Infamous Bengal Ming - Rajesh Parameswaran.
The Dune - Stephen King.
Diem Perdidi - Julie Otsuka. ( )
  Moomin_Mama | Jan 2, 2012 |
Showing 4 of 4

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Freeman, JohnEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alarcon, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Auster, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bamforth, TomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bolaño, RobertoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
DeLillo, DonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doty, MarkContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hall, SarahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
King, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Meechubot, KanittaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Otsuka, JulieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parameswaran, RajeshContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Powell, D. A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roncagliolo, SantiagoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Self, WillContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, JoyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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From realities to nightmares, from neighbours with dark secrets to minds that come unhinged, Granta 117 explores a universal state of being.

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