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Greener Pastures Paperback – March 29, 2016
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"[An] utterly fantastic, seriously disquieting debut... Wehunt proves again and again his ability to imbue old-soul fables of the horrific and fantastical with a fresh, idiosyncratic spirit. Not a single paint-by-numbers effort mars these eleven stories--and Wehunt is, somewhat paradoxically, an erudite, cultured guide for a scenic tour of primal fears, metaphysical passions, and otherworldly improbabilities come to life."
"From the moment you start reading the lead in story, 'Beside Me Singing in the Wilderness', you'll realize that you're holding something special in your hands. His prose is lyrical and moving, yet concise and to the point with not a word wasted on unnecessary exposition. Greener Pastures is a beautiful work and an amazing debut collection from a new author with all the tools he needs to tell a story and a great knowledge of their use."
--This Is Horror
"Eleven of the most haunting stories you're likely to read this year. A highly impressive debut collection; chock-full of imaginative plots, flesh and blood characters, and universal themes, all delivered through prose so lyrical it practically sings."
"Michael Wehunt's Greener Pastures is a wonderful collection of quietly creepy tales that are mature and smart enough to let their effects linger. An impressive debut. Just stay away from that house where your favorite weird horror movie was filmed, okay?"
--Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil's Rock
"With Greener Pastures, Michael Wehunt creates visions of creeping dread and transfiguration that lift a trope-heavy genre into the realm of existential poetry. There are things in here I've never seen before, some of which I devoutly hope to never see again. The stories thus collected trace a journey through the heartland of an America that's unfamiliar yet primordially recognizable, stripped down to its red-soaked roots and bones--the squirming heartstrings of a nation founded by heretics and outlaws, in all its irreligious ecstasy. Occasional spasms of regret and terror aside, you'd kick yourself for not coming along."
--Gemma Files, author of Experimental Film
"Moving through landscapes rendered with a poet's precision, the characters in Michael Wehunt's compelling stories confront deep mysteries of the self and the world. In the process of plumbing the unremembered and the unknown, Wehunt's characters undergo transformations catastrophic and sublime, occasioned and spurred by their growing contact with the hidden portions of themselves and their surroundings. Wehunt skillfully invokes the history of horror fiction and film even as he is at work crafting the genre's future, in one of the more remarkable debuts in recent memory."
--John Langan, author of Sefira and Other Betrayals
"Weird, emotionally complex, Kafkaesque, dread-filled: I might apply all these terms and more to Michael Wehunt's collection Greener Pastures. It's one of the finest debuts I've read in years. Wehunt understands that true strangeness comes out of the personal, and that true horror is what happens during the complex interactions between real human beings. Greener Pastures is outstanding work."
--Steve Rasnic Tem, award-winning author of Deadfall Hotel and Blood Kin
"As though sprung from the forehead of Zeus, Michael Wehunt has come abruptly onto the scene with the seasoned maturity of a veteran. His stories are lighted way-stations in the dark and unnavigable territory between the beautiful and the horrific. If he's this good now, I can't wait to see what he has in store for us in the future."
--Nathan Ballingrud, author of North American Lake Monsters
About the Author
Michael Wehunt grew up in North Georgia, close enough to the Appalachians to feel them but not quite easily see them. There were woods, and woodsmoke, and warmth. He did not make it far when he left, falling sixty miles south to the lost city of Atlanta, where there are fewer woods but still many trees. He lives with his partner and his dog and too many books, among which Robert Aickman fidgets next to Flannery O’Connor on his favorite bookshelf.
His fiction has appeared in various places, such as The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu. This is his first collection.
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Top customer reviews
Give me the short version: Greener Pastures broke my brain and I loved it.
While we're all being honest, as a fan of eerie fiction (circa Bartlett, Llewellyn and Barron) I was always going to love this. Ranging from quasi-classical to reworkings of the mundane, Greener Pastures is between eye and horizon a stunning exhibit of Mr Wehunt's scope and subtlety.
The fears and feeble twitches of humanity are treated tenderly, especially those that in a normal context you'd be inclined to look away from - but of course, once deep inside the meaty confines of someone's head "normality" becomes a fond conceit.
Be sure not to miss the author notes at the end; Wehunt's own brief analysis of each piece is very satisfying.
Favourite bit: He went outside into the muddled stillness and walked around the cabin twice. The stars were sprayed everywhere. The place had no foundation and he dug his way beneath it in a moment. There was a crawlspace of sorts and he wriggled inside and lay down. Black as absence. He felt something curl up beside him and he slept in its warmth, grateful.
Literary stories? Weird or Folk Horror? Stories of madness? Stories of family? Yes to all of the above. Here are stories about mountains that bleed, truckers that rightfully fear the night, widowers growing wings, loved ones lost, and cicadas too.
I'm someone who will often flip through a book looking for quality writing before I decide to purchase it. So let me share a few choice lines that made my eyes widen to help you in your decision.
"Yet something in the writing opened its jaws and he could almost hear them creak as he placed his head inside."
"You got pieces of map where you can lay a quarter down and there's nothing under it."
"The dark bloodless taste of widowhood had coated Hiram's mouth for three nights when we awoke..."
"The glare of the day makes the road a clean white sheet of paper."
"...the night opens its jaws, slow and cool..."
I got chills just typing those, and there are many more lines like this.
I highly recommend this collection. I hope you enjoy it too.
In one of my favorite stories (Greener Pastures), I was intrigued by the story of a visibly tired trucker, Forsyth, who was was eagerly heading back home to witness his daughter's sixth birthday, when he came across a stranger at an isolated diner in the middle of an interstate highway. The unexpected happened. This was a horror story set in near darkness, where the lights go off one by one. After all, it was the perfect signal that something very strange was about to happen .
I could go on and on about the stories in Michael Wehunt's Greener Pastures. They have every ingredient measured out finely to give you the utmost reading experience, be you a horror fan or just a lover of a wonderful story.