A Best Book of the Year: NPR, Vogue, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Review of Books, The National Post, Electric Literature, Kirkus
“Wields such a subtle and alien power . . . Wonderfully spooky.” —Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
"A feminist manifesto threaded through imaginative fiction; it’s the most evocative, impressive collection I’ve read this year." —Daniel Johnson, The Paris Review
From the acclaimed author of Mr. Splitfoot, Samantha Hunt's first collection of stories, The Dark Dark, blends the literary and the fantastic and brings us characters on the verge—girls turning into women, women turning into deer, people doubling or becoming ghosts, and more
Step into The Dark Dark, where an award-winning, acclaimed novelist debuts her first collection of short stories and conjures entire universes in just a few pages—conjures, splits in half, mines for humor, destroys with absurdity, and regenerates. In prose that sparkles and haunts, Samantha Hunt playfully pushes the bounds of the expected and fills every corner with vibrant life, imagining numerous ways in which the weird might poke its way through the mundane. Each of these ten haunting, inventive tales brings us to the brink—of creation, mortality and immortality, infidelity and transformation, technological innovation and historical revision, loneliness and communion, and every kind of love.
Laced with lyricism, hope, Hunt’s characteristic sly wit, and her unflinching gaze into the ordinary horrors of human existence, The Dark Dark celebrates the mysteries and connections that swirl around us. It’s never all the same, Hunt tells us. It changes a tiny bit every time. See for yourself.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Like a creaky floor or tree branches scraping a bedroom window, the stories of The Dark Dark send out small clouds of dread. Samantha Hunt’s mind works in mysterious ways, whether she’s writing about two adult siblings who ride their father’s farm horse to the mall or an isolated woman who’s trying to figure out how to tell her husband she’s been turning into a deer at night. Her stories are perfect bedtime reads: fuel for wild dreams.
In her first collection, Hunt (Mr. Splitfoot) explores various relationships between women and men; the dead and the undead (literally and metaphorically); and lust, longing, and loneliness in 10 stories designed to jolt and beguile. In "Cort s the Killer," a brother and sister witness the gruesome death of their horse during a Thanksgiving outing to Walmart. It sparks questions about their father's death from lung cancer. In "Love Machine," an FBI agent falls in love with the robot he designed to take out Ted Kaczynski. An extramarital tryst between two strangers opens a loophole and brings a seemingly dead dog back to life in "The Yellow." In "Wampum," a mother's ex-boyfriend seduces her precocious 14-year-old daughter, or is it the other way around? In "A Love Story" one of the fiercest and funniest in the bunch a pot dealer turned aspiring writer vents her frustrations with married sex life (or lack thereof), complains about raising children in the age of helicopter parenting (her critiques are witty and spot-on), and runs through the lives of women she's encountered her "own private Greek chorus" in the dark before bed. She describes an uncle as being "so good at imagining things he makes the imagined things real." This excellent, inventive collection does the same; it is rife with observant asides, sly humor, and surprises.
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