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New Gothic: A Collection of Contemporary Gothic Fiction Paperback – October 13, 1992

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (October 13, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679730753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679730750
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,235,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Leading contemporary fiction writers from Anne Rice to Martin Amis to Jeanette Winterson contribute first-rank literary stories to this masterful, disturbing collection.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Cadillac Gothic with new chrome stripping on stories going to the same old grave, by some heavy-hitters in the rich-prose department. At the Poe pinnacle of Old Gothic, all detail and landscape emerge from the tortured, fragmenting psyche of the hero. No such figure easily defines the New Gothic. Many of these tales--of which Paul West's ``Banquo and the Black Banana: The Fierceness of the Delight of Horror'' is the worst offender (it reads at times like a Burroughs cutup)--are overrich by half, and the straightforwardness of Ruth Rendell's ``For Dear Life,'' Joyce Carol Oates's ``Why Don't You Come Live with Me It's Time,'' and Angela Carter's ``The Merchant of Shadows'' blow like breaths of fresh air through the heavy vapors. The single, most well-focused story herein is Rendell's, about the cramps of horror besetting an old dowager taking her first subway ride in London. The best stylist may well be John Edgar Wideman, whose plague tale, ``Fever,'' opens marvelously: ``He stood staring through a window at the last days of November. The trees were barren women starved for love and they'd stripped off all their clothes, but nobody cared.'' The most far-out tale (that still tells a story) is Robert Coover's ugly but cuckoo ``The Dead Queen,'' a reworking of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from the point of view of Prince Charming on the wedding night: no matter how madly Charming performs in bed, Snow White awakens in the morning with hymen restored (as she has awakened after endless sex with the seven dwarfs before Prince Charming awakened her in the coffin that the vanity-ridden queen now lies in). Most fanciful is a tossup, but John Hawkes's ``Regulus and Maximus,'' about the sins of monks, is superpurple. Anne Rice presents a lacy Lestat the Vampire excerpt from Interview with the Vampire. All weighed together, too much and not enough. Should do well, though. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Burrows on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eris, on August 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I read this in high school, about 10 years ago, so the only thing I really remember is the Jamaica Kincaid story 'Ovando.' I don't remember specifics of it, and maybe it wouldn't affect me now the way it did then, but at the time I was staggered by it. I am so glad I found this book so I can read it again. It's worth reading the book just for this one story, although I remember enjoying the rest of it, too.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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