Creative Visions of the Weird: Five Great International Horror Collections
It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed such a good reading run in horror — five great collections read consecutively. I was reminded of my early reading of horror, into my teens, when I discovered so many new authors of dark matter (even hourly when reading my Dad’s Derleth horror collections). Way back then, my enjoyment of the field was writing my own future. I can see that now. And I enjoyed that feeling of discovery and excitement again with these five books — a sense of encountering original, innately weird creative visions for the first time.
I think the last time I felt that recharged by what I was reading in new horror, came in that incredible run of books from Langan, Gavin, Files, Barron, Ballingrud, Tremblay, Bartlett, and many others, around a decade ago — like a new wave of North American weird had come over the seawall. And just when I thought I knew what to expect from horror, Granta and Valancourt translated these collections into English.
Argentinian Mariana Enriquez has been celebrated the world over, and I can see why from the quality of her writing. But I am surprised because her work is weird, not at all mainstream. How often does that kind of success come to a writer of quality weird? Almost never (because how many traditional publishers ever get excited about it?). I am heartened that it is possible. “Adela’s House” from Things We Lost in the Fire became an immediate favourite. Disturbing, sensory, unpredictable stories.
Luigi Musolino’s A Different Darkness and Other Abominations is a grim wonder. Some first class novellas here too, set in or around Turin, that I visited in May. An impressive Italian addition to cosmic horror, that could only have been written by a writer enmeshed in a rural landscape and the mountains. Loved it.
Swedish Cults by Anders Fager (Swedish), and The Black Maybe by Attila Veres (Hungarian), continued to surprise me, story by story, front to rear cover. I think both collections are masterpieces. I was reminded of reading Barker’s Books of Blood for the first time. The Veres particularly disturbed me. “Walks Among You” is one of the best Lovecraftian stories I have encountered. A bit of me is still stuck inside it. He has two more books, in Hungarian. They have to be translated!
Horror is a widely appreciated international field. Here’s proof. Fresh, surprising visions for horror, throughout each work, making me wonder, fearfully, how much great horror fiction we’re not encountering because it hasn’t been translated. Translation is expensive, so I’m giving Valancourt a standing ovation for their editorial direction here; commercially risky but such astute choices. Terrific translations.
Swedish Cults by Anders Fager (Valancourt Books, 232 pages, $17.99 paperback/$9.99 digital, September 6, 2022) — Translated by Henning Koch and Ian Lemke
The Black Maybe by Attila Veres (Valancourt Books, 310 pages, $18.99 paperback/$9.99 digital, October 4, 2022) — Translated by Luca Karafiath
A Different Darkness and Other Abominations by Luigi Musolino (Valancourt Books, 316 pages, $19.99 paperback/$9.99 digital, November 8, 2022) — Translated by James D. Jenkins
Things We Lost in the Fire, Mariana Enriquez (Granta Books, 208 pages, £8.99 paperback/$7.99 digital, October 4, 2018) — Translated by Megan McDowell
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, Mariana Enriquez (Granta Books, 208 pages, £8.99 paperback/$11.99 digital, February 3, 2022) — translated by Megan McDowell
Anyway, for what it’s worth, I recommend them all. And if you enjoy literary horror, they’re essential.
Adam L.G. Nevill lives in Devon, England. He’s the author of The Vessel (2022), Cunning Folk (2021), Under a Watchful Eye (2017), Some Will Not Sleep (2016), Last Days (2013), and many others, including multiple winners of The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel.
Imaginarium adapted his novels The Ritual (2016) and No One Gets Out Alive (2020) into feature films, and several other works are currently in development. His website is www.adamlgnevill.com.
Very intriguing recommendations. My favorite reading material is collected horror fiction and your own works are among some of the most enjoyable I’ve come across in the last couple of years. I look forward to getting my hands on a couple of these.
Thank you, R. Much appreciated.
Made me so happy to read Mariana Henríquez recommendation. She’s getting some well deserved international recognition. I’ll checkout the others!