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Granta 117: Horror (Granta: The Magazine of New Writing)

Granta 117: Horror (Granta: The Magazine of New Writing) [Kindle Edition]

John Freeman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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The selection of pieces that make up Granta 117: Horror are impressively wide-ranging, encompassing short fiction, reportage, paintings and photographs. The collection vividly confirms the fact that what may horrify comes in many guises.

Stephen King's short story 'The Dune' is probably the only instance in this anthology which conforms to a classical concept of exactly what constitutes a horror story.

Rooted, like so much of King's fiction in a world of quaint Americans, 'The Dune' is a cunningly told tale with a delicious sting at its very end.

Santiago Roncagliolo's 'Deng's Dogs' makes a double impact. A coolly written essay about political repression in Peru, dissent and the disappeared, the images conjured by the author are completely horrible, wild dogs and pigs devouring the dumped bodies of those who have fallen foul of the regime, for instance.

Yet bizarrely it is the single photograph of a dog that has been hanged from a lamp post which prefaces the narrative that most disturbs, that remains longest in the memory. Every picture tells a story and here the tables are turned.

Much of what appears details events that are positively mundane. Paul Auster's memoir Your Birthday Has Come And Gone is a sharp reminder of the way in which sudden, unexpected death dislocates those who are left behind.

Alzheimer's is the subject of Julie Otsuka's subtle 'Diem Perdidi', while blood is the subject of two very different pieces: Will Self's 'False Blood' and Mark Doty's rumination 'Insatiable'.

Of the illustrative work (the cover is by the controversial Chapman brothers) the most distinctive is the sequence of paintings by Kanitta Meechubot. Titled 'A Garden Of Illuminating Existence' these beautiful pictures commemorate the artist's grandmother's death from cancer of the womb. --The Daily Express, October 28, 2011

'If you're a devotee, you will be far from disappointed, but crucially in this age of panic within the literary world, this collection provides a perfect entry point for anyone hitherto concerned that the likes of Granta are not for them. In its examination of our fears, it finds that the greatest is not a ghoul at the end of the bed but something far more distressing: the spectre of a life not fully lived.' --The Independent

The new issue of the literary quarterly Granta collects stories that exist on the murky boundary between literary and horror genres. Don DeLillo writes about a reclusive Manhattan moviegoer who gradually finds himself stalking a fellow cineaste from theater to theater. Roberto Bolaño recounts a schlocky zombie movie scene by scene. Paul Auster writes about his mother's death, and Will Self recounts an illness that forced him to undergo repeated bloodletting. As varied as the authors and their forms are, they share what editor John Freeman calls "a certain suspenseful beat and pulse" that echoes more traditional genre horror.

Right now, Freeman says, if you define horror widely enough, it's everywhere. "We live in a culture absolutely saturated with violence," he says, whether it's in the form of zombies and vampires or in conflict reporting or memoirs of illness. To quarantine horror in a genre is to ignore how much of the culture revolves around things we're afraid of, he says. And the ubiquity of horror, and the crossover of literary writers into the genre, Freeman says, is nothing to despair over. "It's a way to sublimate the fears we have as humans, and it shows a great belief in the power of narrative to both sublimate those fears and to help us ask the questions they raise." --The Daily Beast

The selection of pieces that make up Granta, 117: Horror are impressively wide-ranging, encompassing short fiction, reportage, paintings and photographs. The collection vividly confirms the fact that what may horrify comes in many guises. --Daily Express

Looking for something a little more cerebral this Halloween than underwear models with fangs? You can't do better than the new issue of Granta: "Horror." The 117th volume of the British literary journal offers a bone-chilling selection of fiction and nonfiction. --The Washington Post

Just in time for Halloween, Granta, the London-based quarterly, calls on the American master of horror, Stephen King, to headline a new issue devoted to horror that's more literary than gory, yet still chilling and at times, bloody.
--USA Today

It takes a very wide approach to the genre. ... Horror as in life, cinema and fiction. All of it is very powerful. [Julie Otsuka's 'Diem Perdidi'] is an intense account of her mother's descent into, I assume, Alzheimer's. It has that edge that's not like Beckett, but it has that intensity. --BBC Scotland Book Café, 31/10/2011

`What does horror mean to you? To former heroin addict Will Self it's the hypodermic needle, which he recently became dependent on again to keep an incurable blood illness at bay. For Paul Auster, it's the sensation he felt during the emotionally paralysing days following his mother's death ... In the latest edition of Granta, these and other writers ruminate on the horror of modern life, while fiction contributions include a short story from Stephen King and a disturbing zombie nightmare summoned up by Roberto Bolaño. --Metro, 26/10/2011

This is a stunning collection of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and art that aims to `take a stab at examining the phenomenon that is horror'. --Independent on Sunday, 30/10/2011

Issue 117 of Granta is 'Horror', which pulls together an exciting collection of real-life stories (Santiago Roncagliolo's dead dogs hanging from lampposts in Lima, Peru is particularly disturbing) fiction (most notably Stephen King's `The Dune', about an ominous island), poetry (Mark Doty's vampire-themed exploration of Walt Whitman) and intricately dark illustrations (Kanitta Meechubot). --Time Out London, 27/10/2011

The selection of pieces that make up Granta, 117: Horror are impressively wide-ranging, encompassing short fiction, reportage, paintings and photographs. The collection vividly confirms the fact that what may horrify comes in many guises.
--Daily Express, 28/10/11

Product Description

The Horror issue features original cover artwork by Jake and Dinos Chapman and a line-up of contributors that includes some of the greatest names in contemporary fiction.Stephen King tells the story of a retired judge with a deadly secret. Don DeLillo imagines a moviegoer-turned-stalker and Paul Auster writes of his mother's death. Rajesh Parameswaran dips into the mind of a tiger who escapes from a zoo and terrorizes a neighbourhood. Will Self writes of his blood disease and Daniel Alarcon explores the phenomenon of staged, high-camp blood baths. Mark Doty ruminates on a close encounter between Walt Whitman and Bram Stoker. CONTRIBUTORS: Daniel Alarcon, Paul Auster, Tom Bamforth, Roberto Bolano, Don DeLillo, Mark Doty, Sarah Hall, Stephen King, Kanitta Meechubot (artist), Julie Ostuka, D.A. Powell (poem), Rajesh Parameswaran, Santiago Roncagliolo, Will Self, Joy Williams.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1755 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Magazine (12 Oct 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905881363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905881369
  • ASIN: B005VOJB8M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #188,258 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Granta's new American direction finds its feet 31 Dec 2011
Granta's transition from a definitively English literary tradition to a more American focussed publication continues with issue 117, entitled 'Horror'. US heavyweights Don DeLillo, Paul Auster and Stephen King are wheeled out by the (newish) editor, John Freeman (also American), in what is his strongest offering since the departure of predecessor, Alex Clark. The 'horror' of the title largely eschews preconceptions of zombies and ghosts, instead detailing the very human horrors of the modern world and ordinary life: butchery in Sudan, the death of a mother, Peru's dirty war, life-threatening illness.

Some of it is excellent: Will Self's account of a nasty blood illness, Paul Auster on losing his mother, Santiago Roncagliola on Peru, the cover design by the superlative Chapman twins. King's short-story is enjoyable but far from his best work and DeLillo delivers his customary excellence. The only bum note was a short story by Rajesh Parameswaren, which recounted a tiger's predatory instincts from the animal's perspective; the sort of badly conceived idea one would expect from a sixth form creative writing class rather than a literary magazine that is regaining its lustre.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Unengaging and pretentious 21 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Generally, very disappointed by this collection. Whilst the idea of exploring the horror in daily life is intriguing, most of these pieces fail to deliver. Many are simply dull and pretentious. Indeed, it is difficult to comprehend that these were all written by different authors - the overall effect is one of dull homogeny, as if we are hearing one single authorial voice.

Worst of all is the Will Self opener - his aim seems to be to drop in as many long and obscure words as possible - a deplorable 'look at me showing off' style - truly nauseating. What a pretentious bore! Many other pieces just seem downright pointless and fizzle out without leaving any impact. Paul Auster's account of his mother's death feels interminable and extremely indulgent, as do many others.

There are three engaging contributions. Sarah Hall's tale of a woman's encounter with a sinister canine on an African beach is genuinely atmospheric, whilst Stephen King's The Dune is fairly interesting.

However, the one redeeming feature of this collection is the outstanding 'Infamous Bengal Ming' by Rajesh Parameswaran. This tale of a tiger on the rampage is truly terrifying, yet heart warming and intensely human at the same time - even though it is told from the tiger's viewpoint. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions reading this. A brilliant gem in a lack lustre collection. The story also appears in Parameswaran's collection 'I Am Executioner' which I intend to checkout. A better bet than wasting time on this Granta volume.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Being loved by the Infamous Bengal Ming 30 Nov 2011
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
In a bracingly revealing opening article Will Self tells of contracting polycythaemia vera and explains: "A disease that sounded like a Greek goddess spliced with an East End pub landlady, a disease that resulted from a single gene mutating and instructing your bone marrow to indulge in a mindless over-production of red blood cells." His is much the best factual piece in this issue being rebarbative, `Self-ish', though devoid of self-pity and giving a bleak picture of his past as a drug addict. But it is not so much horrific as horrifically clinical, and it gives way to a aesthetically fitting metaphor in connection with his current medical treatment: "...this professional needlework was the appropriate Karmic comeback for all that amateur embroidery."

Joy Williams' short story leaves a pleasurable echo but is not, now (an evening away) in any way memorable. Don DeLillo's fiction was effusive in comparison with some of his sparer work but never became quite confessional or human enough. DeLillo continues, to my mind, to write readable fiction, but always manages to evade the living, breathing, messy and intimate world of fictive truth within which the best practitioners often effortlessly launch and float their work. Of the fiction in this issue, my favourite was Sarah Hall's She Murdered Mortal He, a story about lovers breaking up and a stray dog - a perfectly proportioned yet utterly unpredictable work of poignancy and depth.

I also loved Rajesh Parameswaran's The Infamous Bengal Ming which managed to be both blackly funny as well as full of moments of genuine horror. Horror aplenty too with Santiago Roncagliolo's piece about the Picsi jail in Chiclayo, Northern Peru. "No-man's-land was the first sign we were entering hell.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 11 Dec 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Describes my condition and its treatment perfectly. Unfortunately, I can't share this one with my Mum.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 3 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've never dipped into a "Granta" I didn't enjoy.
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