"To write anything worth reading you have to put everything you have into every sentence. There can be no lazy thinking, no clichés, no borrowed tropes, no third-hand experience; there can be no hiding.” Miranda Darling
Posts tagged "horror"
The horror of the self

The horror of the self

In November 1979, the American current affairs programme 60 Minutes ran an item called ‘Wellness’. In it, host Dan Rather profiled the work of Dr John Travis, a former physician-turned health educator who had, in 1975, opened the Wellness Resource Center in Mill Valley, an affluent city in California’s Marin County. As Rather discovered, Travis...
A fresh start

A fresh start

Dinah Glover arrived in Tokyo to take up residence in a block ambitiously named Maison du Parc. The building was surrounded by concrete and clad in more concrete, pink and stuccoed. It was long and squat, like the egg casing of a huge insect. Dinah had come on a work visa sponsored by Saitama Denki...
A summer night

A summer night

I WAS APPROACHING ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL from the Old Castle Stairs. Night had fallen, and the first stars were appearing in a clear sky. The chancel – a black silhouette of columns, flying buttresses and pinnacles – rose before me. The castle’s courtyard opened up to my left. The place was deserted and so quiet,...
Spooky houses with eerily lit windows

Spooky houses with eerily lit windows

The image is instantly recognisable to horror fans: a foreboding house, a darkened sky, a single illuminated window. Maybe a figure stands silhouetted against the window’s yellow glow. Maybe the house is in a state of disrepair – forked cracks at the foundation and creeping vines strangling the porch rails. To me, a lifelong lover...
Charlotte Perkins Gilman: 'The Yellow Wallpaper'

Charlotte Perkins Gilman: ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’

I recently found myself on the horror side of BookTok, scrolling through video after video recommending “books that will rattle me to my core” and “scary fall reads” when something intrigued me enough to stop scrolling. A young man stared into the camera, carefully holding a book so that the viewer couldn’t immediately see the...
A disunited kingdom

A disunited kingdom

Let me paint you a picture of an alternative Britain sadly not too far from our own… My debut novel Verge charts a journey – both literal and internal – of two very different young people across a Disunited Kingdom where the county borders have become hard borders with checkpoints, processing units, guards and, occasionally,...
Celebrating the Year of the Witch

Celebrating the Year of the Witch

Some young girls are into sports, some are into fashion, and some spend their teenage years building altars in their bedrooms, summoning spirits and casting spells. At least up until recently, there were perhaps not that many of us – and we did run the risk of being branded as weird, but some of my fondest memories...
Embracing the dread

Embracing the dread

Horror novels have an incredible ability to take us out of our lives and excite our imaginations. Reading a novel is great exercise for the mind as we build images in our heads of the worlds on the page, and this becomes even more pertinent when we read horror and our brains start to spawn...
Keeping mum

Keeping mum

In Ainslie Hogarth’s gripping and darkly comic modern gothic novel Motherthing, Abby Lamb’s mother-in-law Laura’s endless sniping and put-downs come to an abrupt end when she slashes her wrists in the family basement. But then Laura’s ghost takes up the mantle, and begins to terrorise Abby with still greater venom, just as Abby is left to cope...
The best time

The best time

Catriona Ward’s Sundial pushes the boundaries of psychological horror in pleasing ways. The prose is intelligent, highly observed and exquisitely toxic. Nothing is taboo. Children are slapped, dogs shot, the illusion of the perfect family shattered, and sisterly bonds broken. The writing is austere but substantial, the characters extreme but believable, and the settings beautiful...
Rumaan Alam: This is how civilisation ends

Rumaan Alam: This is how civilisation ends

“I woke up this morning and the world already feels safer!” declared a friend on Facebook the day after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris swept to victory in the US election. Hah! Wait till you read Leave the World Behind, I thought, perhaps a little too sceptically, you’ll soon change your tune. If this suggests...
Nick Bradley: Tokyo calling

Nick Bradley: Tokyo calling

Nick Bradley’s debut novel The Cat and The City offers a dizzying ride through the underbelly of a Tokyo normally invisible to outsiders. Artfully combining different styles of popular storytelling – from horror, Sci-Fi and fantasy to detective fiction and even manga – the lives of a disparate band of characters are deftly intertwined. A...