Dark Fiction (Part III)

This week sees the third instalment in my Dark Fiction series.

Definition: Dark fiction is concerned with the sinister side of human nature. It is often distinguished from the mainstream horror genre in that it tends not to be fantasy-orientated. Dark fiction may contain elements of black or satirical humour.

Here are six works of dark fiction. Click on the links to read my reviews.

 

The Pearl by John Steinbeck (1947)

The Pearl is a parable about the darker side of human nature, in which the author employs a simple yet captivating prose to illustrate how riches can be illusory.

My Review: Steinbeck’s novella, The Pearl, is a story about a destitute Mexican pearl diver by the name of Kino, who leads a simple existence with his wife Juana and baby son Coyotito. One day…(more)

 

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson (1952)

The author adeptly employs suspense in this thought provoking, suspenseful and unrelentingly bleak first person narrative about a psychopath.

My Review: 29-year-old Lou Ford is a Deputy Sheriff from the West Texas town of Central City. Lou is a hard-working, trustworthy, simple character with a keenness for clichés; at least this is how he is perceived…(more)

 

Junky by William S. Burroughs (1953)

Junky

Junky is a semi-autobiographical novella, in which the author successfully utilises a detached journalistic approach to capture the obsessive nature of addiction.

My Review: Set in 1950s America and Mexico, Junky is a confessional novella about drug addiction. Its protagonist Bill Lee chronicles his drug-centred existence, which entails searching for his daily fix…(more)

 

Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)

The Bell Jar is about protagonist Esther’s year in the ‘bell jar’, a period in which the boundaries between the real and the imagined become blurred.

My Review: Having landed a highly-coveted position as an intern for a prominent New York based magazine, talented and intellectual Boston native Esther Greenwood experiences the glamour of the big…(more)

 

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis (1985) 

Easton Ellis’s debut novel is a nihilistic account of life in 1980s L.A. This is a graphic and disturbing book that utilises social commentary and plotless realism.

My Review: Set in 1980s Los Angeles, the story follows eighteen-year-old Clay, returned home for Christmas from college in New Hampshire. Clay immediately falls back into the L.A. social scene…(more)

 

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk (2005)

Haunted is a series of short stories, in which the author succeeds in not only amusing, horrifying and disgusting his readers, but also skilfully exploring a variety of themes.

My Review: Haunted is about a group of writers, who have been assembled by the conniving Mr Whittier to attend a writers group. The location of the retreat is in an isolated theatre with no access…(more)

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