The Book of Lost Things

Genre: Fantasy; Fairy Tales Publisher: Washington Square Press When David’s mother dies and his father remarries, his wish to escape his new life is granted when he slips through a crack in the garden wall into another world. A dark and often brutal adventure follows: one which reimagines a host of fairy tales and associated... Continue Reading →

Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales

Genre: Traditional Tales/Fairy Tales Publisher: Virago Press Carter’s fairy-tale compilation spans the globe in a celebration of the world’s eclectic cultural and social heritage, kept alive for centuries through the power of the spoken word. The stories are inventively yet intuitively grouped and their allegorical spirit preserved through simple language and stark imagery. It’s humorous,... Continue Reading →

The Little Stranger

Genre: Gothic; Mystery; Horror; Supernatural Publisher: Virago When Dr Faraday attends the Ayres’ Hundreds Hall estate, he quickly becomes a family friend and privy to their troubles: Roderick’s lingering post-war trauma; Mrs Ayre’s grief for her late daughter; their collective struggles to maintain the increasingly dilapidated estate. Waters’ haunting narrative has shades of Shirley Jackson... Continue Reading →

The Masque of the Red Death

I couldn't resist recommending another of Poe's gothic short-story masterpieces: Genre: Gothic Horror Publisher: Various – Public Domain When the Red Death follows Prince Prospero and his revellers to their masquerade ball, no one is spared. Poe’s ruthless allegorical tale of human mortality is saturated with gothic tradition: from the castellated abbey setting; to the visceral... Continue Reading →

The Cask of Amontillado

Genre: Gothic Horror Publisher: Various – Public Domain Fortunato’s latest insult will be his last when Montresor leads him in a vengeful plot to his live-entombment. The narrative is unashamedly macabre; the description vivid and sinister. The king of the 19th century American short story sucks all glimmer of hope from this brutal tale until... Continue Reading →

Best Served Cold

Genre: Grimdark Fantasy; High/Epic Fantasy Publisher: Gollancz When mercenary, Monza Murcatto, is betrayed and left for dead, she joins forces with a host of brilliantly-observed yet suspect characters and sets out on a rampage of vengeance. This is Abercrombie at his absolute best: riotous and inventive narrative; wicked dialogue; brutal violence; and biting humour, set... Continue Reading →

The Stress of Her Regard

Genre: Alternate History; Gothic Horror Publisher: Corvus Books When Michael Crawford inadvertently attracts a vampiric Nephilim for a life-mate, it gruesomely murders his bride in their wedding-bed. Crawford fleas, befriending Keats and other Romantics, Shelley and Byron, whose own viciously jealous Nephilim are at once the source of their creativity and of their isolation. Gory... Continue Reading →

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl

Genre: Steampunk Publisher: Snowbooks When Gideon Smith’s father mysteriously disappears at sea, he unwittingly embarks on a journey worthy of his beloved penny dreadfuls. This rip-roaring adventure brims with narrative verve: the alternate-Victorian setting is nicely realised; the gothic well integrated. It smacks of YA but Bram Stoker, vampires, mummies, zeppelin-flying-sky-pirates, and automata all add... Continue Reading →

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Genre: Mystery; Gothic Horror Publisher: Penguin (Modern Classics) A family poisoned by arsenic. Two surviving sisters made pariahs of their community. The tension spirals; the atmosphere grows thick with a leaden dread. This a mystery heavily laced with gothic horror: in the Blackwood’s sprawling, ramshackle grounds; in Merricat’s superstitious rituals; in the insidious, underlying violence... Continue Reading →

Thérèse Racquin

Genre: Gothic horror, Naturalism, Psychological Publisher: Penguin (Classics) This is the stuff of nightmares. A quick but far from easy read, such is the power of Zola’s narrative which he weaves with classic 19th-century gothic themes: psychological terror and madness; violent power-play; the supernatural; transgressive sexuality. The narrative is suffocating and Thérèse and Laurent’s world... Continue Reading →

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