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Granta 117: Horror (Granta: The Magazine of New Writing) Paperback – October 25, 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Just in time for Halloween, Granta, the London-based quarterly, calls on the American master of horror, Stephen King, to headline a new issue devoted to horror that's more literary than gory, yet still chilling and at times, bloody."
-- USA Today


"Looking for something a little more cerebral this Halloween than underwear models with fangs? You can’t do better than the new issue of Granta: “Horror.” The 117th volume of the British literary journal offers a bone-chilling selection of fiction and nonfiction."
-- The Washington Post

About the Author

John Freeman’s criticism has appeared in more than 200 newspapers around the world, including the Guardian, the Independent, The Times and the Wall Street Journal. Between 2006 and 2008, he served as president of the National Book Critics Circle. His first book, THE TYRANNY OF EMAIL, was published in October by Scribner in the US and Text in Australia.
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Product Details

  • Series: Granta: The Magazine of New Writing (Book 117)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press, Granta (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905881363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905881369
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this publication because I am always on the trail of new authors whose writing satisfies my literary palate, and with Stephen King in the mix I was hoping for a couple of emerging prodigies that might hold the promise of reinvigorating the horror genre. The opening story is very weak and just depressing instead of horrific as the author recounts how poor decisions in his past have contributed to his declining health, poor me, etc. The following story "Your Birthday has Come and Gone" is a major yawn and once again doesn't convey any feelings of terror. There are several other pieces that I didn't care for but one actually made me angry. "The Colonel's Son" is a poorly written synopsis of the movie "Night of the Living Dead 3", and the author opens the story claiming this movie somehow paralleled his own life and that this invoked a sense of profound terror in him but fails to explain how or why. The author claims he cant remember the name of the movie so just calls it "The Colonel's Son" but there is this thing called the internet and it would take about 2 minuets to look up the title and credits which would have required only slightly more time and thought than the author put into this story. "Dengs Dogs" and "The Mission" speak of horrors of the real world people inflict on each other and themselves and are well worth the read. The story in this collection that I believe outshines all others is "The Infamous Bengal Ming" by Rajesh Parameswaran, about a captive tiger dealing with an identity crisis. Overall I was disappointed with the content of the publication. I can appreciate trying to break trends and include a new outlook on a tired genre but many of the pieces in the collection have little to no merit in the scope of horror.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was reading the "Horror" issue of high-falutin' literary journal "Granta," fruitlessly searching for anything remotely horrific, when I came to a story toward the end of the book called "The Colonel's Son" by Roberto Bolano. Bolano, some of you might know, is the latest big thing in Latin lit, the "Gabriel Garcia Marquez of our time," according to The Washington Post. (That's funny. I thought Gabriel Garcia Marquez was the Gabriel Garcia Marquez of our time.) Although Bolano died early, like Tupac, he left plenty of posthumous product to crowd the shelves. In "The Colonel's Son," the narrator catches a late-nite "B-grade schlock" movie and recounts what he sees. That's the whole story: I saw this movie called "The Colonel's Son" last nite, here's how it went. And as I read, it dawned on me: I know this movie Bolano is describing. It's "Return of the Living Dead 3." He's regurgitating the entire plot of "Return of the Living Dead 3." I wouldn't want to suggest that the literary crowd is easily misled or that Roberto Bolano is a great gassy fartcloud of hype. But in "The Colonel's Son," he essentially wrote a screen treatment, a Wikipedia entry for an early '90s zombie sequel that he had no part in making, then he presented it as his own work. Some might call that plagiarism. Not the poindexters on the "Granta" editorial board. They read "The Colonel's Son," then leaned back, squinched their eyes shut, released a deep sigh of satisfaction, clasped hands in a circle and declared as one: "Sheer genius!" They even got an artist to animate the story online, perhaps not realizing this zombie yarn had already been "reanimated" almost 20 years before by flesh-and-blood actors (including a SMOKING hot Melinda Clarke).
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Format: Paperback
They should call the magazine Garbage instead of Granta!

This edition pretends to explore the horror genre but all it produces is a book full of horrifically pretentious and soul-crushingly boring stories.

Will Self’s False Blood prattles on about his heroin addiction with ridiculously verbose language – hey, lookit me, I’m edumacated, I has a degree an’ everthing! Paul Auster’s Your Birthday Has Come and Gone is Auster posturing yet again. He drones on about this and that, nothing really, in the second person no less, and it’s awful to read. I don’t know what I saw in him before but my only excuse is that I read him when I was a dumb teenager!

Don DeLillo’s The Starveling is about a man who spends his days watching films. DeLillo has got to be the most overrated author alive. His prose has the startling ability to be forgotten as you’re reading it. Roberto Bolano’s The Colonel’s Son is a lengthy description of a fictional b-movie – seriously.

The other stories, all by unknown writers, show why said writers are unknown. They read like bad creative writing assignments written by students. Oh, the horror of a man losing his wife. Oh, the horror of losing a relative. Oh, the horror of… er… being a tiger!

The only writer who gamely makes an effort is also the most famous name by far in the collection: Stephen King – and I say that as a guy who doesn’t like King all that much anymore! His story, The Dune, is about a haunted dune which sounds like a parody of a King story but that's just the kind of stuff he writes. It’s not great and it’s got a campfire ending but it’s the only story that feels like it’s trying – the others were just concerned with wanking each other off.

I’ve never read an edition of Granta before and, after this atrocious book, I’ll never feel the urge again. Granta 117: Horror is a steaming pile of wannabe-literary turds. Avoid!
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