What to Read on Dark and Stormy Nights

What to Read on Dark and Stormy Nights

Burn some calories by freaking yourself out.

A Long Fatal Love Chase

Louisa May Alcott

Best known for her all-American classic, Little Women, Alcott’s
1866 novel didn’t see the light of day until 1995 when it was
eventually published. A Long Fatal Love Chase tells the story of
heroine Rosamond Vivian as she flees remote island life for a
mysterious man who becomes her husband. The Faustian tale was far
ahead of its time: unapologetic in its account of the needs and
desires of young women, the story’s pace and tone differs vastly
from Little Women. Rosamond’s eventual jailbreak from an unhappy
marriage and her subsequent travels as her husband chases her
across Europe are full of the religious and moral dilemmas that
crop up consistently in Gothic literature.

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Other Voices, Other Rooms

Truman Capote

Southern Gothic is an American sub-genre of gothic writing that
has flavoured works as diverse as Gone with the Wind and last
year’s True Detective. Essential ingredients: flawed heroes, dark,
shape-shifting settings in the deep South and an overall sense of
foreboding. Other Voices, Other Rooms delivers all of this in
spades. It tells of the coming-of-age of Joel Harrison Knox, a 13
year-old boy sent to a dilapidated Mississippi mansion to live with
his eccentric family. Once there, he hunts for a father he has
never met. Capote’s semi-autobiographical novel caused a scandal
when it was published for its honest account of teen homosexuality
and its provocative image of Capote on the dustcover.

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Mary Shelley

A staple on any list of dark and stormy fiction, and for good
reason. Shelley’s genesis tale of scientist Victor Frankenstein and
the birth of his DIY’ed Creature is one of the most iconic in
Gothic literature. Shelley famously conceived of the tale on
holiday in Geneva with Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and John Polidori,
when the writers decided to write horror stories for each other.
Shelley’s story stood the test of time: from tracing Frankenstein’s
childhood in the rarefied upper social circles of Geneva to its
violent conclusion in the desolate wastes of the North Pole,
Frankenstein’s themes are as relevant today as they were in 1818.
Reflections on self-destruction, family ties, medical ethics and
most famously, revenge, are all tied up in one elegantly disturbing
18th century package.

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Interview with the Vampire

Anne Rice

Before there was Twilight, Anne Rice’s Interview with the
Vampire was the ultimate in modern vampire romance (and much better
written). In late 20th Century America, 200-year-old vampire Louis
de Pointe du Lac recounts his life story to a young journalist.
Erring on the gorier side of gothic, with New Orleans and Paris as
its backdrops, the novel is full of lush, dreamy prose. Interview
paved the way for cult vampires like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and
spawned its own 90s blockbuster film adaptation starring a young
Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Kirsten Dunst in the lead roles.

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