Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Granta 117: Horror Review (Stephen King, Paul Auster)


They should call the magazine Garbage instead of Granta! 

This edition pretends to explore the horror genre but all it produces is a book full of horrifically pretentious and soul-crushingly boring stories. 

Will Self’s False Blood prattles on about his heroin addiction with ridiculously verbose language – hey, lookit me, I’m edumacated, I has a degree an’ everthing! Paul Auster’s Your Birthday Has Come and Gone is Auster posturing yet again. He drones on about this and that, nothing really, in the second person no less, and it’s awful to read. I don’t know what I saw in him before but my only excuse is that I read him when I was a dumb teenager! 

Don DeLillo’s The Starveling is about a man who spends his days watching films. DeLillo has got to be the most overrated author alive. His prose has the startling ability to be forgotten as you’re reading it. Roberto Bolano’s The Colonel’s Son is a lengthy description of a fictional b-movie – seriously. 

The other stories, all by unknown writers, show why said writers are unknown. They read like bad creative writing assignments written by students. Oh, the horror of a man losing his wife. Oh, the horror of losing a relative. Oh, the horror of… er… being a tiger! 

The only writer who gamely makes an effort is also the most famous name by far in the collection: Stephen King – and I say that as a guy who doesn’t like King all that much anymore! His story, The Dune, is about a haunted dune which sounds like a parody of a King story but that's just the kind of stuff he writes. It’s not great and it’s got a campfire ending but it’s the only story that feels like it’s trying – the others were just concerned with wanking each other off. 

I’ve never read an edition of Granta before and, after this atrocious book, I’ll never feel the urge again. Granta 117: Horror is a steaming pile of wannabe-literary turds. Avoid!

Granta 117: Horror

1 comment:

  1. Granta has always been stiff and boring. During its heyday of the 80s I swear it's goal was to only publish the most impenetrable and dense of indecipherable fiction. I think the idea behind experimental fiction was that it would lead to good things, like in some evolutionary process, but the reality is that it just perpetuated pretentious ideas that were written in intentionally leaden and verbose language. Luckily the south American and latino writers like Borges and Marquez (Charles Bukowski as well) finally came into recognition and overshadowed the boring staple of writers being published by Vintage books and in the pages Granta.

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