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The New Gothic: A Collection of Contemporary Gothic Fiction

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In time The New Gothic brilliantly reanimates--and reinvents--the genre of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, celebrating the vigorous return of sophisticated horror. Contributors include Anne Rice, Joyce Carol Oates, Ruth Rendell, and Peter Straub, among many others. Eeriness abounds."--Washington Post Book World.


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In time The New Gothic brilliantly reanimates--and reinvents--the genre of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, celebrating the vigorous return of sophisticated horror. Contributors include Anne Rice, Joyce Carol Oates, Ruth Rendell, and Peter Straub, among many others. Eeriness abounds."--Washington Post Book World.

30 review for The New Gothic: A Collection of Contemporary Gothic Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    M Griffin

    I've been reading an awful lot of story anthologies lately, and the word "uneven" seems to occur to me just about every time. No exception here, I'm afraid. Despite the roster of respected names on display here, from experimentalists to literary mainstays, writers with horror/fantasy credentials and those who work in other genres such as mysteries, many seemed not to know what to do with the theme. Complicating matters further is the editors' use of novel excerpts, rather than stories specifical I've been reading an awful lot of story anthologies lately, and the word "uneven" seems to occur to me just about every time. No exception here, I'm afraid. Despite the roster of respected names on display here, from experimentalists to literary mainstays, writers with horror/fantasy credentials and those who work in other genres such as mysteries, many seemed not to know what to do with the theme. Complicating matters further is the editors' use of novel excerpts, rather than stories specifically crafted to fit here. The Anne Rice and Peter Straub excerpts, at least, were some of the better writing on display, and somewhat suited to the theme. I most enjoyed the short stories of Jeanette Winterson, Jamaica Kincaid, Joyce Carol Oates and Angela Carter, all of them inventive, colorfully told and evocative. Otherwise, the most interesting stories were by writers I previously knew by name only, like Ruth Rendell and Scott Bradfield, or hadn't heard of before, as in the case of Jamaica Kincaid and Emma Tennant. Conversely, some of the more established names whose work I looked forward to here -- Martin Amis, John Hawkes, Robert Coover, Kathy Acker and William T. Vollman -- disappointed. At least Acker and Vollman displayed a knack for stringing together a nicely-formed sentence. Amis, Hawkes and Coover all three lost me early on. Their stories seemed less about engaging the reader and more about amusing the writers themselves with puns, crudity and pointless wackiness. I know some readers frown upon fiction writers, who are also editors, including work in their own edited anthologies. It's interesting that two of the better stories here are by the editors of The New Gothic, Bradford Morrow and Patrick McGrath. Morrow's "The Road to Nadeja" drew me in as much as anything in the book. A compellingly drawn narrative. McGrath's "The Smell" was strongly narratived, a great imitation of the old-fashioned Gothic in terms of both voice and tone. In the end, I was left thinking this "New Gothic" movement, if there ever was such a thing (this was released in 1992), lacked the vitality and momentum to deserve a title, let alone to support a themed anthology of this kind.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Like most anthologies, this does contain a number of excellent pieces, but there are some problems with it as a collection. It looks like they were trying to cobble together the beginnings of a movement, but there is a fair amount of disparity in these pieces. The only thing they have in common is that they are all more or less literary works that present a somewhat gothic sensibility, altho I would argue that a couple of them dont even have that. Included here are works that are overtly gothic, Like most anthologies, this does contain a number of excellent pieces, but there are some problems with it as a collection. It looks like they were trying to cobble together the beginnings of a movement, but there is a fair amount of disparity in these pieces. The only thing they have in common is that they are all more or less literary works that present a somewhat gothic sensibility, altho I would argue that a couple of them dont even have that. Included here are works that are overtly gothic, but others that are from very different genres, like experimental fiction. A couple of the pieces are not even short stories, but excerpts from longer works, like a fine clip from Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire (I guess they had to include her), and a completely unnecessary bit from Martin Amis's London Fields (I like Amis, but there is no way you could consider his writing gothic, i.m.o.) However, there are a few outstanding items here that made it a worthwhile read, and most of them were from women. Do women have a greater ability to write in the gothic mode than men? I loved Angela Carter's "The Merchant of Shadows", a witty take on a Sunset Boulevard-esque scenario. Ruth Rendell contributes one of her cold gems, this one a satirical piece about a posh lady who finds herself taking her first ride on a London tube train and beginning to freak out. Emma Tennant (another British female) checks in with "Rigor Beach", a very dark and perverse little number about a black widow-type who lures a man to her apartment, has sex with him, poisons him , and then has a little fun with the corpse. John Edgar Wideman's "Fever", a story I have seen turn up in other anthologies, is a brilliant (and yes, feverish) depiction of a pandemic disease ravaging a city (that might be Philadelphia) in some decade long past. Other good ones were Jamaica Kincaid's wildly creative "Ovando", McGrath's "The Smell" about a puritanical man's obsession with a strange smell in his home, Jeanette Winterson's sketch of a neighborhood oddball, and Scott Bradfield's "Didn't She Know", in which a sexy girl flirts (harmlessly, she thinks) with a bunch of lonely old retirees. Morrow's story about a man who compulsively steals little prized possessions from people was interesting as well. Some of the other pieces were well-written, but the content did not particularly grab me. Overall this was a mixed bag. I am not sure how much the editors had to work with - I mean, there are a few McGraths and Rendells out there, but is adult gothic fiction really a big field that produces a lot of short stories? Maybe not.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Some stories were so good, some just weird, and others tedious. I expected more. The best were by familiar authors - Joyce Carol Oates, Ruth Rendell, Peter Straub. The editors each included one story, and they were both good. Overall, disappointing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    The Book Witch

    No, I can't. I tried, I really tried. But these stories they were just weird and confusing and I generally did not know what was going on. It was just such a nightmare to try and work through each story so no. I DNFed this around the 180 mark.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lari

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I listened to maybe 3-4 of the stories and they were just.... bad. Apparently "new gothic" is not my genre.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Asahi88

    Le uniche storie che salverei sono: * Sangue * La Regina Morta * La Lotta per la vita * L'Odore L'altre è meglio lasciarle marcire nell'ignoranza. (A parte quella della Rice, ma se vi siete già letti Intervista col vampiro non vi perdete niente) opinione scritta il 21\04\12

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    2010: ~Blood by Janice Galloway- Okay ~Why Don't You Come Live With Me It's Time by Joyce Carol Oates- Nice & chilling ~J by Kathy Acker- Powerful 2010: ~Blood by Janice Galloway- Okay ~Why Don't You Come Live With Me It's Time by Joyce Carol Oates- Nice & chilling ~J by Kathy Acker- Powerful

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Mahaffey

    Contains one of the creepiest stories I've ever read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Roniq

    Wonderful collection of short gothic stories

  10. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    highlights: Carter, Coover, Galloway, Winterson, Bradfield, Morrow

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jecripps

    There are some great, creepy stories in this. Happy Halloween!

  12. 5 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl Proc

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Wilson

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicolás

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  17. 5 out of 5

    pickfordm

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  20. 4 out of 5

    Riaz

  21. 5 out of 5

    Annika Brock

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  23. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sterngucker

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrea V.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Clodia Metelli

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Hartman

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  29. 5 out of 5

    †the Marquise

  30. 4 out of 5

    charles gehr

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