October is #WickedGoodReads Month here at Outlandish Lit and GXO. This week, we’re focusing on books with Dangerous Places. I've been looking forward to this topic - International Horror & Weird Books (see the full list of discussion topics here).
REVENGE BY YOKO OGAWA
These horror stories are all interconnected and they are SUCH a delight to read. Creepy, dark, and murder-y. And, bonus: They are pretty distinctly Japanese.
An aspiring writer moves into a new apartment and discovers that her landlady has murdered her husband. Years later, the writer’s stepson reflects upon his stepmother and the strange stories she used to tell him. Meanwhile, a surgeon’s lover vows to kill him if he does not leave his wife. Before she can follow-through on her crime of passion, though, the surgeon will cross paths with another remarkable woman, a cabaret singer whose heart beats delicately outside of her body. But when the surgeon promises to repair her condition, he sparks the jealousy of another man who would like to preserve the heart in a custom tailored bag. Murderers and mourners, mothers and children, lovers and innocent bystanders—their fates converge in a darkly beautiful web that they are each powerless to escape.
JAGANNATH BY KARIN TIDBECK
This is one of my favorite short story collections EVER. Not necessarily horror, but definitely weird. Karin Tidbeck wrote them in Swedish then translated them herself into English, which is pretty impressive. Read more about how much I love this strange, unsettling, and very Scandinavian collection here.
Enter the strange and wonderful world of Swedish sensation Karin Tidbeck with this feast of darkly fantastical stories. Whether through the falsified historical record of the uniquely weird Swedish creature known as the “Pyret” or the title story, “Jagannath,” about a biological ark in the far future, Tidbeck’s unique imagination will enthrall, amuse, and unsettle you. How else to describe a collection that includes “Cloudberry Jam,” a story that opens with the line “I made you in a tin can”? Marvels, quirky character studies, and outright surreal monstrosities await you in what is likely to be one of the most talked-about short story collections of the year.
ONE HUNDRED SHADOWS BY HWANG JUNGEUN
This novella was translated from Korean to English and is being praised by Han Kang (author of The Vegetarian). And, I'm going to be real, I think it's better. With creepy magical realism abound, this novella about shadows detaching themselves from their humans had me completely hooked. I kind of want everyone to read this.
An oblique, hard-edged novel tinged with offbeat fantasy, One Hundred Shadows is set in a slum electronics market in central Seoul – an area earmarked for demolition in a city better known for its shiny skyscrapers and slick pop videos. Here, the awkward, tentative relationship between Eungyo and Mujae, who both dropped out of formal education to work as repair-shop assistants, is made yet more uncertain by their economic circumstances, while their matter-of-fact discussion of a strange recent development – the shadows of the slum’s inhabitants have started to ‘rise’ – leaves the reader to make up their own mind as to the nature of this shape-shifting tale.
What are your favorite international horror & weird reads?
Tomorrow's topic is Books That Make The Woods Seem Like A Scary Place - see you there!