American Fantastic Tales
Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940's Until Now
By Peter Straub (Editor)
(Library of America, Hardcover, 9781598530483, 713pp.)
Publication Date: October 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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aAt its core, a writes editor Peter Straub, athe fantastic is a way of seeing.a In place of gothic trappings, the post-war masters of the fantastic often substitute an air of apparent normality. The surfaces of American lifeadepartment store displays in John Collieras aEvening Primrose, a tar-paper roofs seen from an el train in Fritz Leiberas aSmoke Ghost, a the balcony of a dilapidated movie theater in Tennessee Williamsa aThe Mysteries of the Joy Rioaabecome invested with haunting presences. The sphere of family life is transformed, in Davis Grubbas aWhere the Woodbine Twinetha or Richard Mathesonas aPrey, a into an arena of eerie menace. Dramas of madness, malevolent temptation, and vampiristic appropriation play themselves out against the backdrop of modern urban life in John Cheeveras aTorch Songa and Shirley Jacksonas unforgettable aThe Daemon Lover.a
Nearly half the stories collected in this volume were published in the last two decades, including work by Michael Chabon, M. Rickert, Brian Evenson, Kelly Link, and Benjamin Percy: writers for whom traditional genre boundaries have ceased to exist, and who have brought the fantastic into the mainstream of contemporary writing. The 42 stories in this second volume of "American Fantastic Tales" provide an irresistible journey into the phantasmagoric underside of the American imagination.
aAn encompassing and essential voyage to the dark side of the moon of American literature.a aJonathan Lethem
Author Peter Straub knows a bit about terror. As the editor of the new two-volume set American Fantastic: Tales, Terror and the Uncanny, he spent two years researching the best — and scariest — American stories, dating from the age of Edgar Allan Poe to the present. More at NPR.org
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