Posts tagged ‘Edgar Allan Poe’

October 10, 2013

BBC National Short Story Award 2013

by Andre

£7.99 – available now

THE BBC NATIONAL SHORT STORY AWARD 2013Congratulations to Sarah Hall, who was named this week as the winner of the BBC National Short Story Award 2013. Her story, Mrs Fox, is an earthy fable about a complacent husband whose wife undergoes a shocking transformation.

Hall emerged as the winner of the £15,000 prize from an all-female shortlist (stories were submitted anonymously) that also included tales of quiet grief and vivid imagination from new and established authors Lisa Blower, Lavinia Greenlaw, Lionel Shriver and Lucy Wood. Settings for these stories range from the haunted corners of an old Cornish house to the panic-stricken streets of New York in Shriver’s Prepositions, which takes the form of a resentful letter looking back exactly 10 years earlier at the distinction made between the people who died on 9/11 but not in 9/11. All the shortlisted stories have been published in the annual anthology that is now available for those readers who, like Edgar Allan Poe, appreciate the power of a literary work that can be read in one sitting.

Sarah Hall is the author of the Booker Prize shortlisted The Electric Michelangelo, the eco-feminist science fiction novel The Carhullan Army and a short story collection, The Beautiful Indifference.

February 18, 2013

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares: Joyce Carol Oates

by Andre

Joyce Carol Oates THE CORN MAIDEN AND OTHER NIGHTMARESWith a 50-year career that takes in novels, short stories, young adult fiction, poetry, reviews, and edited anthologies as well as book-length memoirs and essays ranging from widowhood to boxing, keeping up with the astonishing literary output of Joyce Carol Oates is a job of work. But it’s an occupation that never feels like a chore, such is the emotional pull of her prose and the thrilling sense of dread in her stories.

Her latest collection – though another one will probably turn up any minute – is lyrical, elegant and shocking in a way you might not anticipate from such an admired woman of letters. The novella that gives the book its title is the case of a missing girl told from multiple perspectives in which Oates adroitly pairs adult emotions of guilt, regret and loss with an adolescent rage that threatens to explode into ritual killing. There’s also a brace of tales about evil twins, a devastating story about a jealous sibling and a breathless account of a plastic surgeon losing his grip – literally – that’s just plain nasty. Edgar Allan Poe is clearly a lifelong influence on Oates’s intricate, intoxicating horror. Once you wander in, the temptation to lose yourself in her literary backlist may be hard to resist.