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Granta's new American direction finds its feet
on 31 December 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.