cover image The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories: Vol. I

The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories: Vol. I

Edited by James D. Jenkins and Ryan Cagle. Valancourt, $19.99 trade paper (428p) ISBN 978-1-948405-64-5

This groundbreaking anthology of contemporary horror stories from around the world is an irrefutable testament to the international popularity of horror fiction as a form of literary expression. These 21 tales, most appearing in English for the first time, range in approach from the classic gothic (Spanish author Pilar Pedraza’s “Mater Tenebrarum”) to psychological horror (Hungarian Attila Veres’s “The Time Remaining”), physical horror (Finn Marko Hautala’s “Pale Toes”), quirky surrealism (Ecuadorian Solange Rodríguez Pappe’s “Tiny Women), and dark absurdist satire (Dane Lars Ahm’s “Donation”). Peruvian author Tanya Tynjälä riffs on Greek myth in “The Collector” while Bathie Ngoye Thiam pulls from Senegalese folklore in “The House of Leuk Dawour” and Yvette Tan employs elements of Filipino legend in “All the Birds.” Among the book’s outstanding selections are Swedish author Anders Fager’s “Backstairs,” in which a psychotherapist horribly misinterprets the terrifying reality underlying a patient’s dreams, and “Down, in Their World” by Romanian Flavius Ardelean, which translates the folk legends of Transylvania into a tale of subterranean nightmares. Jenkins and Cagle cast their net wide to cull stories that would distinguish any compilation in which they appeared. This book is a must for horror fans and the start of an exciting new series. (Dec.)