Viewing entries tagged
Mark Haber

Mark Haber’s Secret Literary Histories

Mark Haber’s Secret Literary Histories

Reviewed by Tobias Carroll

Why not embrace the return of the weird? One of the most welcoming side effects of the blurring of genre boundaries in recent years has been the exploration of fiction that eludes easy classification, but unsettles nonetheless as it traverses the boundaries of the fantastic, the surreal, and the horrific. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s 2012 anthology The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories finds  common ground on which China Miéville and Kelly Link can co-exist with Bruno Schulz and Leonora Carrington. Editor D. Thin’s 2015 collection Shadows of Carcosa provides a welcome primer to the early days of cosmic horror — but includes work written long before “cosmic horror” existed as a genre unto itself. And thus, the works of writers like Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Allan Poe can be seen both in their own unruly splendor and as literary ancestors of a disparate series of modern literary strains. . .

Andrés Barba's <br><i>Such Small Hands</i>

Andrés Barba's
Such Small Hands

Reviewed by Mark Haber

Put simply: childhood is strange. Countless writers have tried to capture this strangeness, the landscape of novelty that is a child’s world. Such Small Hands, a slim and haunting novel by Andrés Barba, not only succeeds at this but does so in one hundred haunting pages. Each one of these pages is exquisite, and the end result is a perfectly expressed work that transmits the perverse and bizarre experience that is youth, where games signify life and death and where relationships are teased and pushed to the breaking point. Childhood: part fairy tale, part nightmare...

Yuri Herrera's <br><i>The Transmigration of Bodies</i>

Yuri Herrera's
The Transmigration of Bodies

Reviewed by Mark Haber

The Mexican author Yuri Herrera knows the fine line between the real world and the fantastic; his first two novels in English skirt this line to perfection. His first book to be translated, Signs Preceding the End of the World, follows a young Mexican girl, Makina, as she crosses the border into the United States, a journey fraught with peril and untold dangers. Upon reading the book, it was evident that Signs Preceding the End of the World was no typical border novel and Herrera no typical writer. The story, deftly told in spare but harrowing strokes, is infused with a mythical ambience, leaving the reader room to imagine the cultural and political consequences Herrera only hints at. The Transmigration of Bodies, his second book to appear in English, inhabits the same world, and reading it after Signs Preceding the End of the World underscores the feeling that the color has been switched on and volume raised...