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Granta 117: Horror (2011)
Tekijä: John Freeman (Toimittaja)
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Come se non bastassero i tanti "orrori" che ci girano intorno, mi devo pure sorbire un numero dedicato della rivista GRANTA, alla quale sono abbonato sin dall'inizio delle pubblicazioni. Si dice che l'orrore, come categoria umana, sia universale e sia ovunque: a cinema, nella finzione e nella realtà. Sarà anche vero e anche se non è vero, ci credo. Ma allora cosa devo pensare che aveva ragione quel grande di Sir Arthur Conan Doyle quando scrisse che "là dove non c'è immaginazione non c'è orrore"? Intessiamoci anche di questo. Almeno sappiamo di che si tratta. Fior fiore di scrittori si cimentano in questo tipo di scrittura in varie forme e tentativi. Io preferisco, però, sempre lo splendore all'orrore!!! ...
Favourite writers and stories in this: Sarah Hall, Santiago Roncagliolo, Stephen King, Mark Doty.
So very disappointing.
From realities to nightmares, from neighbours with dark secrets to minds that come unhinged, Granta 117 explores a universal state of being.
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It's actually kind of sad that Granta feels they need to file these pieces under any sort of label since it creates an expectation that could cause one to miss the point. What we do have here is a book/magazine of very, very good short fiction, non-fiction, and art that is interesting and sometimes disturbing.
There are 4 or 5 really good stories here, about half the book. As always in Granta, the writing is good even when the subject matter is weak. If I miss a few it is because they were forgettable. I hate most poetry so I'll skip the poem.
False Blood is a pretty good autobiographical essay by Will Self about a guy who has to have a pint of tomato sauce removed from his veins every week because of some disease he has. Oh, he hates needles too. Yuck.
Your Birthday Has Come And Gone - pointless, meandering piece that had one paragraph that stretched on for eight pages.
Brass by Joy Williams is a real, actual horror story, although the payoff won't come until the penultimate paragraph. Good stuff.
The Starveling - I hated this story from the get go and I was right in the end. Overlong and with a plot hole so wide you could fly the space shuttle through it.
The Mission - depressing non-fiction about Somalia. Certainly horrifying but not HORROR.
She Murdered Mortal He - I'm sure this is just one of those stories I'm too stupid to get. Pretty good build-up, but it turns out to be a dog bites man story, literally. Lots of symbolism, ooooh.
Nice artwork in the middle.
Deng's Dogs - another depressing (non-fiction?) tale about Peru. Well told and grim, but not much different than anything you would see in The Atlantic.
The Infamous Bengal Ming - Now we're talkin'. This is a story told from the point of view of a tiger in a zoo. I kid you not. Sounds corny. I was pretty skeptical when I started but this turned out to be a very original fantastic horror story. The sort of story Saki would write.
The Ground Floor - Goofy.
Insatiable - In my opinion a strained attempt to connect Dracula to The Leaves of Grass (Hey, I don't make this stuff up). Sure they are both creepy, but I don't buy the connection. Like something you would turn in for an English final exam to show how clever you are.
The Colonel's Son - You knew Granta was going to put one REAL horror story in just to show they really do get it, and it's so campy and fun to be weird and creepy, and aren't we crazy and edgy here. Zombie mayhem. Enjoy it even though you know why they threw it in.
Then, we get the Stephen King story, another Granta nod to the real genre here. A good story, not a great story. Actually, a pretty good old fashioned horror story.
Unfortunately, instead of finishing on a high note there is one more clinker at the end; a tedious exposition of Alzheimer's disease that goes: "She remembers...She doesn't remember...," for page after page. There's more to it than that, of course, but the repetitive style just doesn't engage the reader at all.
Enough blather...Worth reading, just don't get suckered. ( )