Interior Darkness: Selected Stories
“sure to entertain and dazzle all who take in its exceptionally crafted words.”
Good news and bad news. Such is life.
The good news regrading Peter Straub’s new collection of short stories, Interior Darkness, is that the book is filled with Peter Straub short stories. There are few in the genre of horror and suspense that can spin a short tale like a master of Straub’s skill. “Blue Rose,” “Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff,” and “The Buffalo Hunter” prove this. Same with “Lapland, or Film Noir” and “Bar Talk.” Excellent examples of what can be done with the format of the short story.
Straub’s style, unlike his contemporary, Stephen King, is one of carefully chosen words. Not to say King does not choose his words carefully, but Straub’s style is more literary in many ways while King’s is as if you are sitting in front of a storyteller around the campfire. With Straub you are led through the story like a docent leads a tour group through a museum. The reader can take in what is happening, but is also given solid literary guideposts to follow.
Brilliant, spooky, almost addictive in the way the stories roll out before the readers’ eyes, Interior Darkness is the definitive collection of Peter Straub’s best short works. Therein lies the bad news. For long time fans of Straub’s writing, Interior Darkness is not filled with anything new. It is a “Best of” collection taking stories from three of his previously released collections: Houses Without Doors, Magic Terror, 5 Stories. Except for the three very short tales at the end that have not been in any collections before, Interior Darkness is nothing new at all.
Which is exactly the point. This collection of already collected stories allows new readers to discover the brilliance that is Peter Straub. He is a writer and an artist with a wholly unique voice that should be experienced by fans of not just horror and suspense, but of great writing in general. Straub knows his job, and he performs it masterfully.
Good news and bad news, but mostly good news, Interior Darkness is the perfect collection for those who want a taste of the Straub magic but haven’t braved diving into any of his brilliant novels. And, for those familiar with his work, it is a chance to revisit some classics that deserve a fresh release. A “Best of” or not, Interior Darkness is sure to entertain and dazzle all who take in its exceptionally crafted words.