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.
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