Liz Hand in the NYTimes

Sat 25 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Generation LossIn the NYTimes, Terrance Rafferty’s horror column focuses on women writers beginning with the mother of the genre, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and going on to say “men — as is their wont — have coolly taken possession of the genre, as if by natural right, some immutable literary principle of primogeniture” and then that the modern populist streak of horror writing known as paranormal romance is “unreadable” for most males. (Not entirely true, there are many Laurel Hamilton fans.)

But rather than continue with these fighting words, he then takes a thoughtful look at a couple of prizewinners and novels from the literary end of the genre: Sara Gran’s Come Closer, Alexandra Sokoloff’s The Price, Sarah Langan’s Bram Stoker Award winner The Missing, and Liz Hand’s Generation Loss (on sale here)—which is listed as an Editor’s Choice—he describes as:

“Startling, unclassifiable. . . . There’s nothing supernatural in “Generation Loss,” but it’s full of mysteries — all originating in its characters’ troubled psyches — and full of terrors that can’t be explained.”

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  1. Gwenda on October 25th, 2008 5:14 pm

    I thought it was _SO_ odd that he brought up paranormal romance in that context… I’ve been reading a fair amount of it lately and would never describe it as horror. If anything, these are more or less paranormal mysteries, for the most part, not so much with the horror. (Although sometimes there’s cross-over, to be sure.) It makes me think it’s one of those swipes that comes from a place of little information, but Rafferty, as always, is better than most of their genre critics.

  2. kev Mcveigh on October 26th, 2008 6:23 am

    Mary Shelley as the mother of horror? It’s such an obvious statement to make about women writing horror, and yet it actually serves to cover up a longer and broader vein of women writing horror. Shelley herself was an admitted admirer of Ann Radcliffe, her husband claimed Charlotte Dacre as a significant influence (as did Byron) and they must have been aware of the technogothic theatre of Joanna Baillie etc.
    Our modern conception of horror possibly owes more to Jane Loudon’s The Mummy (1830) than to Frankenstein.

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