Publisher: Alma Classics
Genre: Horror, Short Stories
Release Date: September 22nd 2016
Buy The Book: Book Depository
A murderer is forced to reveal his crime by the sound of a beating heart, a mysterious figure wreaks havoc among a party of noblemen during the time of the plague, a grieving lover awakens to find himself clutching a box of his beloved blood-stained teeth, a man is obsessed with the fear of being buried alive – these are only some of the memorable characters and stories included in this volume, which exemplify Poe’s inventiveness and natural talent as a storyteller.
Immensely popular both during and after his lifetime, and a powerful influence on generations of writers and film-makers to this day, Edgar Allan Poe is still counted among the greatest short-story writers of all time and seen as one of the initiators of the detective, horror and science-fiction genres.
I’ve read a few Poe stories before but it’s been quite a few years since I last did, so I was excited to delve into this collection of some of his finest short horror stories, in perfect time for the spooky season. This book includes some of Poe’s most famous stories, twenty-six of them altogether, told with the perfect mixture of disturbance and unease.
For me, the shorter stories such as Morella and The Tell-Tale Heart are more sinister and engaging than some of the longer ones. They manage to draw you in with only a few pages per tale, but still manage to have a lasting creepy effect. I love the level of atmosphere Poe always managed to pack in to such short stories, and the characters are always intriguing. Sometimes you root for them, sometimes you wonder how they could be so twisted.
One of the things that stands out for me most about Poe’s stories is the level of detail he puts into them, no matter how gruesome. Everything is described in a way that allows you to perfectly conjure up an image of the scene in your mind. It allows you to place yourself in that moment, especially with stories such as The Premature Burial. Even for someone who doesn’t have a specific fear of being buried alive, the writing allows you to feel the horror that a person would feel in that situation. It’s probably the story that made my skin crawl the most!
It’s difficult to choose a favourite but one of my top choices is William Wilson because the subject of dopplgangers has always fascinated me and I love the way William’s second self was written in this story. It was the first Poe story that I read and it was great to reread it again in this collection.
This group of tales is a perfect read for this time of year when the nights are darker for longer, so go scare yourself silly. What is you favourite Poe story? Let me know!