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The Dark Dark: Stories Paperback – July 18, 2017
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From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Praise for The Dark Dark
An iBooks Best Book of July
A Paris Review staff pick
A W Magazine Book by Women Writers to Read This Summer
A Chicago Review of Books Book You Need to Read This Summer
“The Dark Dark . . . wields such a subtle and alien power that I couldn’t read more than a couple of pieces in a sitting without feeling like some witchy substance was working its way through my blood . . . Wonderfully spooky.” ―Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
“Beguiling . . . daring . . . Hunt at her best is a lot like the uncle of one character, who is described as ‘so good at imagining things’ that ‘he makes the imagined things real.’ Hunt’s dreamlike images operate in service to earthbound ideas . . . [She] gets at the myriad ways women work to keep their self-possession in the face of social and interpersonal expectations.” ―John Williams, The New York Times
"A daring collection in which Hunt gives her imagination free reign, allowing her characters to careen off the rails in their search for something more in the darkness." ―Joy Press, Los Angeles Times
"Liminal fantasy with a solid literary sensibility; sure to please fans of Karen Russell and Lidia Yuknavitch . . . The Dark Dark chews on some delicious, evergreen themes in extraordinary ways." ―Carmen Maria Machado, NPR
“The Dark Dark, more than anything else, is an example of the sheer force of storytelling, of the power of narrative to elicit understanding and emotional response at an unspeakable, unspoken level.” ―Robert J. Wiersema, The National Post
"The Dark Dark reads like a feminist manifesto threaded through imaginative fiction; it’s the most evocative, impressive collection I’ve read this year." ―Daniel Johnson, The Paris Review
"Hunt, with the publication of her first collection of stories, “The Dark Dark,’’ is poised to break through as one of our major fiction writers . . . Hunt is by turns hilarious, wry, wrenching, and lyrical." ―Priscilla Gilman, The Boston Globe
"Samantha Hunt writes about the ordinary through a supernatural kaleidoscope. She holds the mundane and extraordinary up to the light and tries to explain the shadows . . . Hunt's writing does not gloss over the dark, ugly parts of womanhood. Instead, she allows women the space to be wild in ways the real world does not―by writing with empathy and grace." ―Carolyn Quimby, Chronogram
"The stories intertwine what’s extraordinary and familiar in meaningful ways, taking on density and weight . . . Reading pleasures abound in Hunt’s incisive and witty prose and characters who linger in the mind like acquaintances you hope to meet again.” ―Katie Pelletier, The Portland Mercury
"What makes The Dark Dark so refreshing is Hunt’s willingness to work in the unapologetically weird . . . It’s a welcome statement of purpose, and a reminder that certain familiar places and themes are ripe for their own fictional revival." ―Tobias Carroll, Bookforum
"Like in our best Lynchean dreams, these are stories with talons dipped into the eerie and the supernatural . . . The writing in The Dark Dark is swoon-worthy, and craft-wise, there is not one hair out of place. In fact, if you were standing before me I might push this book immediately into your hands . . . Samantha Hunt has written a perfect story collection." ―Ingrid Rojas Contreras, KQED's The Spine
"These short stories are works of dark, dark magic that skitter between worlds both recognizable and wholly new. Fans of Hunt's work will revel in her first story collection, which marries her signature flare for the fantastic with keen observation and sharp prose . . . Grab your comforter and a flashlight for this tour de force collection from one of our most inventive storytellers." ―Kirkus, starred review
"Designed to jolt and beguile . . . This excellent, inventive collection . . . is rife with observant asides, sly humor, and surprises." ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“I was enamored with Mr. Splitfoot and didn’t think Samantha Hunt could top that book. I was wrong. The stories in The Dark Dark keep getting better as the book goes on, and by the end I was spellbound. You’d be hard-pressed to find another author like Samantha Hunt. These stories explore not only extraneous terrors (the dark night and the unknown horrors it holds), but also the deep-down fears and savagery and strangeness that exist beyond our understanding. Hunt mines the depths of our subconscious inhumanity to reveal what connects us in ways we can’t imagine, and in her fantastic stories lie the real and familiar. The darkest dark is not an outside entity, but our own humanity, and nobody but Hunt can illuminate the shadowy corners of the soul so well.” ―Rachel Kaplan, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
“In stories full of doubles and doppelgangers, splitting cells and shadowy figures, Samantha Hunt evokes the uncanny in areas―suburbia, motherhood, marriage―all too often made mundane by lesser writers. In Hunt’s singular voice, however, a wife’s desire becomes a matter of bodily metamorphosis; a dusty backroad becomes a portal between worlds. Vivid and uncompromising, each story is unsettling―not only to the characters within it, upended by a world gone sideways, but to the reader, who recognizes in those characters her own weird thoughts and longings. There it is, the strangeness at the center of our lives, laid bare and fairly pulsing on the page.” ―Mairead Small Staid, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
About the Author
Samantha Hunt’s novel about Nikola Tesla, The Invention of Everything Else, was a finalist for the Orange Prize and winner of the Bard Fiction Prize. Her first novel, The Seas, earned her selection as one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Her novel, Mr. Splitfoot, was an IndieNext Pick. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, Tin House, A Public Space, and many other publications. She lives in upstate New York.
Top customer reviews
Hunt's short story collection is full of strange, haunted characters confronting some of the darker parts of human existence—from infertility and infidelity to loneliness and mortality. In her surreal and often frightening world, the mundane becomes transformative, both literally and figuratively. Motherhood is the prominent theme, and Hunt's female characters are compellingly raw and animalistic.
It's hard not to compare The Dark Dark to Roxane Gay and Ottessa Moshfegh's recent short story collections. Ultimately I'd take Gay or Moshfegh over Hunt—their stories left a much deeper impression on me—though I still quite enjoyed this collection.
The descriptions are fresh, the language interesting, the characters singular and off kilter, facing dramatic circumstances often of their own making.
These are stories about people on the edge, living on the fringe, trying to fit in and do what's expected. These are stories about people we all know, maybe some of us, hiding in plain view.
Even though I am a male, I loved reading the stories in The Dark, Dark. They focused on the mysterious and quirky side of the female psyche. Each story created a twist; nothing ended as expected. These stories are not predictable, and they keep the reader thinking and guessing.
Read any book by Hunt and you'll have a blast.
I liked the book so much I bought her other two novels as soon as I finished the last chapter.