The phrase “gothic literature” may conjure images of madwomen in attics and supernatural goings-on within imposing castle walls. But that’s not the whole story.

“Gothic can mean a bunch of different things,” says Miriam Weinberg, senior editor at Tor Books. “Ominous foreboding architecture on the outside, but also a sense of otherness on the inside.” Compounding the dread: the remote, isolated locales of several of this season’s tales.

The Book Eaters

Sunyi Dean. Tor, Aug.

Set in the present day, Dean’s debut imagines a clandestine community on the Yorkshire moors whose members consume the pages of books for sustenance. Like all female book eaters, Devon lives on fairy tales and prim cautionary tales, while men dine on adventure stories. When her son is born with a taste for human minds rather than paper and binding, she begins to question the narrative she’s been fed.


The Hacienda

Isabel Cañas. Berkley, May

Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca” in “a brilliant contribution to the new wave of postcolonial gothics,” PW’s starred review said of the debut novel by Cañas, who was also included in our spring 2022 “Writers to Watch” feature. In 19th-century Mexico, in the aftermath of the country’s War of Independence, Beatriz is mourning her father’s betrayal and murder. She accepts a marriage proposal from a handsome widower and arrives at his remote estate craving sanctuary, but why does her husband’s sister seem to fear the house? What happened to the first Doña Solórzano? And why is her only ally a young priest who relies on faith and witchcraft to protect her from an angry ghost?



Ottessa Moshfegh. Penguin Press, June

In the medieval fiefdom of Lapvona, a blind midwife, Ina, sees through a horse’s eyes and lives secluded in the woods, feared by many of the villagers. Malek, a shepherd boy with an abusive father and no mother, finds solace in her company. As plague, famine, and political unrest spread and Malek crosses paths with the wealthy lord of the manor, the line between the human town and the spirit world beyond it proves dangerously thin. “Moshfegh brings her trademark fascination with the grotesque to depictions of the pandemic, inequality, and governmental corruption,” PW’s starred review said, “making them feel both uncanny and all too familiar.”


Small Angels

Lauren Owen. Random House, Aug.

At the edge of a dark English wood, a village church called Small Angels is about to fill with wedding guests. Chloe, the bride, sees the church in person for the first time and starts to see... other things. Kate, her fiancé’s sister, returns home to find that the ghost that haunted her childhood is still in the woods; and the family charged with keeping the specter at bay, including Kate’s first love, Lucia, looks on in horror as she accidentally sets it free.

What Moves the Dead

T. Kingfisher. Tor Nightfire, July

Hugo and Nebula award winner Kingfisher’s novella, which PW’s review called “creepy and utterly enjoyable,” offers a twist on Edgar Allan Poe’s gothic tale “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Retired soldier Alex Easton is called to the bedside of a dying childhood friend, Madeline Usher, and on arrival at the family estate, is met with a nightmare: fungal growth, sleepwalkers, and a foreboding lake. With a British mycologist and an American doctor as allies, Alex sets out to solve the mystery of the House of Usher. 


The Wild Hunt

Emma Seckel. Tin House, Aug.

Leigh Welles returns to a remote island off the coast of Scotland to bury her father, determined to leave the sorrows of WWII behind her. The island’s people have been hunted for decades by the sluagh (host in Gaelic), evil spirits who carry away the souls of the dead, and sometimes the living. When a local boy disappears, Leah teams up with an RAF veteran to shine a light into the dark heart of the island. 

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