Thursday, 14 April 2016

All Souls' Night

Valancourt Books, which publishes quality paperbacks, is bringing out a new edition of Hugh Walpole's collection All Souls' Night. Here is the blurb:

Hugh Walpole (1884-1941) was one of the most popular and prolific English authors of his time, best known for his historical fiction and novels for boys. But it was in the field of the macabre and supernatural that Walpole was at his best, and this collection of sixteen tales contains many of his finest, including the classic werewolf story ‘Tarnhelm’; the oft-anthologized ‘The Little Ghost’; ‘The Snow’, a chilling story of vengeance from beyond the grave; and perhaps the highlight of the collection, ‘The Silver Mask’, which one critic has called ‘a masterpiece, a classic example of how a tale can be truly terrible and ghostly with no ghost and only the wispiest hint of the supernatural.’ 
This new edition, which reprints the unabridged text of the 1933 first edition and includes a new introduction by John Howard, will allow a new generation of readers to discover an unjustly forgotten master of the eerie and macabre.

I'd concur with the blurb, especially with regard to 'The Silver Mask', a fine example of quiet horror. Walpole is an old-fashioned author, but then so are L.P. Hartley and Walter de la Mare. The style may not be modern, but the sense of the strange and disturbing is still immediate. 

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