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- The Cartography of WolvesApril 22, 2021
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Winter is coming, as George R.R. Martin and a bathroom wall or two have been wont to say. When I was growing up in Texas, this was a blessing; October was when it finally got below 90. But this year, the winter will be long and bleak no matter the part of the country. So why not settle down and read some freaky international fiction? Since October is the spooookiest month, we’re bringing you a selection of the fantastical, the horrifying, and the bizarre (and of course, some mysteries). Grab a flashlight, get under the covers, and prepare to be horrified by that which has nothing in common with our currently horrifying reality!
Max Seeck, The Witch Hunter (Berkley)
The Nordic folk horror trend continues with this clever metafiction occult novel. An author’s wife has been found murdered. She appears to have been killed in the same way as the author’s fictional victims. But what seems like a simple copycat killer turns out to be a large scale cult, and they have lots more plans…–MO
Echoes of a Natural World: Tales of the Strange & Estranged, edited by Michael P. Daley
Introduction and translations from the French by Sam Kunkel
This beautiful, surreal collection of stories combines obscure French gems from 19th century, never before translated, with brand new tales suffused with a sense of the uncanny. This is the missing link between Baudelaire and the Area X Trilogy, strange, beautiful, and bizarre as any denizen of a romantic ruin, nuclear test site, or poisonous overgrown garden could ever want. Also, here’s a creepy story about a toad.
Olivier Barde-Cabucon, The Inspector of Strange and Unexplained Deaths (Pushkin Vertigo)
Translated by Louise Lalaurie Rogers
Even though many historical detective novels take place long before modern police forces took form, writers delight in finding appropriate-for-the-era substitutes to investigated murder no matter the era. In Olivier Barde-Cabucon’s newly translated novel, set in mid-18th century Paris, that substitute is the titular detective, for whom investigation is as much an intellectual exercise in humanism as it is a puzzle to be unlocked.
Andrea Camilleri, The Sicilian Method (Penguin)
Translated by Stephen Sartarelli
Sadly, Andrea Camilleri died last year, but his series lives on as the last titles are translated into English. In The Sicilian Method, Camilleri’s famed Inspector Montalbano is involved in an investigation that begins as a farce—a casanova escaping from a jealous husband climbs out of a window into the apartment below, only to stumble upon a body. Shortly after, an unpopular theater director with a long list of enemies is murdered, and it’s up to the inspector to connect the dots (while of course eating lots of delicious local cuisine and musing on modern Italy).
Jenny Hval, Girls Against God (Verso Fiction)
This time-traveling dystopian horror novel from Norwegian weird fiction writer Jenny Hval is hard to describe, a melange of queer feminist theory, madcap hijinks, and gleeful genre tropes. In 1990s Norway, a conservative culture gets a shock when Edvard Munch shows up with a death metal band with a subject from one of his paintings in hot pursuit. Perfect for fans of Michael Moorcock, Lauren Beukes, Nnedi Okorafor, Elizabeth Hand, or Sara Gran!