STRANGENESS: A Collection of Curious Tales by Thomas M. & Charles Naylor--Eds. Disch

STRANGENESS: A Collection of Curious Tales

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

From the hearthside terror of Shirley Jackson to the timeless underground dominion of Graham Greene, a selection of sixteen stories, weird to chilling, many with antecedents in the works of Poe. There's a fairy tale of two department store buyers and a cherished elephant, vintage Joan Aiken; a creepy encounter between a wary sculptress and an unwanted admirer, registered by Joyce Carol Oates; and teasers from Italo Calvino and Thomas Mann--one with witty wordplay to lead you along, the other a chance loosening of formal ties. Two writers see cockroaches as menacing: Disch himself has a phobic New York newcomer take command of the city's six-legged legions before losing touch, while John Sladek, in the looniest story here, sends them one-way to the stars via rocket. Philip Jose Farmer describes a world in which, temporarily, bodies age while minds regress, and Russell Fitzgerald contributes a bizarre recipe for your beloved, with step-by-step directions: ""Next, cut off the toes of one foot and the fingers of one hand. . . ."" The borderline personality--visionary, alienated, uneasily familiar--appears, disintegrating artfully, in the stories of Virginia Woolf, M. John Harrison, Pamela Zoline, and Brian Aldiss (propounding a demented theory of evolution), and more conventionally peculiar characters come from William Sansom and, less forcefully, Sarah Orne Jewett. A promising convergence of threatening landscapes and journeys to the interior.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1977
Publisher: Scribners