Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Peter Straub is the author of
fifteen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty
languages. He has won the British Fantasy Award, two Bram Stoker
awards, and two World Fantasy awards. He lives in New York
The war-numbed soldier who asks, "Just suppose...,that you were forced to confront extreme experience directly, without any mediation?" speaks for all of the spiritually traumatized souls who navigate the harrowingly rendered hells of these seven tales of suspense and horror. Straub (Mr. X) effortlessly plumbs the hearts and minds of a range of well-developed charactersÄincluding a reflective assassin for hire, a five-year-old victim of domestic violence, an aging black jazz musician and a pompous Wall Street financial adviserÄto locate epiphanic moments when their lives careened "out of the ordinary" and into the path of deforming private tragedy. In "Ashputtle," an implied murderess blames her crimes on an emotionally deprived childhood in which she imagines herself a modern Cinderella victimized by her cruel stepsisters. "Bunny Is Good Bread," an unnerving portrait of the psychopath as a young boy, follows young Fee Bandolier as he maladjusts to an unbearably gothic home situation in which his father has beaten his mother into a coma. "Porkpie Hat" is related as an alcoholic saxophonist's confession of a childhood brush with witchcraft, murder and miscegenation that continues to inform his blues-haunted music. In several of the talesÄmost notably "The Haunted Village," which links to the novel Koko (1988) and stories from his previous collection, Houses Without Doors (1990)ÄStraub skillfully evokes the supernatural to suggest the dislocating effect of intense psychological upset. Mixing stark realism with black comedy, and reverberating with echoes of Conrad, Melville and the Brothers Grimm, these excursions to the dark side of life set a high standard for the literature of contemporary magic terror. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
A scary story collection from Straub, including the award-winning novella Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"A POWERFUL GATHERING OF
SUSPENSE AND HORROR STORIES."
-The Denver Post
"Compelling . . . Magic Terror is bliss for readers whose love of the eerie doesn't preclude a taste for literary elegance. . . . [Straub] is one of the few fin-de-si cle writers whose stories can stand alongside works by 20th-century masters of the macabre such as King, Robert Aickman, Shirley Jackson, and Edith Wharton."
-The Washington Post Book World
"There is no safety in this literate and much praised cluster of stories. It's beautifully written stuff that breaks into the place where you live, breaching all psychologically installed security systems. . . . And although we desire to read it for many reasons, the truest one is that Peter Straub writes with compassion. He gets the link between modern horror and classic tragedy."
-The Philadelphia Inquirer