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A Collapse of Horses

Stories by Brian Evenson

With minimalist literary horror, Brian Evenson’s stories work a nightmare axis of doubt, paranoia, and every day life.

February 2016
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | 270 Pages
Trade Paper

 

ISBN: 978-1-56689-413-5.

$16.95

Description

A stuffed bear’s heart beats with the rhythm of a dead baby, Reno keeps receding to the east no matter how far you drive, and in a mine on another planet, the dust won’t stop seeping in. In these stories, Evenson unsettles us with the everyday and the extraordinary—the terror of living with the knowledge of all we cannot know.

Reviews

Praise for Brian Evenson

“Some of the stories here evoke Kafka, some Poe, some Beckett, some Roald Dahl, and one, a demonic teddy-bear chiller called “BearHeart™,” even Stephen King, but Evenson’s deadpan style always estranges them a bit from their models: He tells his odd tales oddly, as if his mouth were dry and the words won’t come out right.” —New York Time Sunday Book Review

“Evenson’s fiction is equal parts obsessive, experimental, and violent. It can be soul-shaking.” —New Yorker, “The Dark Fiction of an ex-Mormon Writer”

“Evenson is interested in philosophy and semiotics, the impossibility of ever truly knowing or naming the world, and our fundamental, helpless dependence on what our senses tell us…[His stories] are a wonderful feat of the uncanny.” —Los Angeles Review, “Review”

“Evenson is a writer with an uncommonly dark vision, and in 2016 he figures to find his biggest audience yet.” —Star Tribune

“Violence is punishing but unbelievably subtle in Evenson’s delicate, minimalist stories. And ultimately, there is something cosmic — something utterly Lovecraftian, but without the baroque language — about this type of horror: Beneath the slippery, often abstruse plots lies a vast gulf of nothingness, in the purest and most unsettling sense of the word.” NPR

“A Collapse of Horses is a stunning collection of disparate tales of existential terror, which could serve as a good introduction to readers who are not familiar with his work. However, allow your reviewer to warn you: once you have read Evenson, you will want to read all of Evenson; yet beware, like most addictions, it is a dangerous pursuit and one not easy to pass through unscathed.” The Brooklyn Rail

“There is no colour in these stories, and hardly an image. Taken separately, they can seem as cold as ice. But allowed to touch each other horribly, they burn. The collection as a whole comes as close to adding up as the world is likely to allow to those who have lost their way. Each story says what the world does to those who drift into its claws without a lie to cling to.” Strange Horizons

“One of the premier dark fiction writers working today, Brian Evenson releases a new collection of his hallucinatory stories, A Collapse of Horses. The brilliant title story reads like an Oliver Sacks case study rendered by Edgar Allan Poe. His standout novel Last Days, a labyrinthine mystery inside a cult of amputees, also gets a new reissue.” —Campus Circle

“You never realize how deep his fiction has wormed its way into your brain until hours, days, even weeks later, when you’re lying in the dark and Evenson’s images come flooding back, unbidden. A Collapse of Horses will stay with you for a long time…whether you want it to or not.” —Chicago Review of Books

“While each piece in A Collapse of Horses stands alone as a tale that combines “literary” and “horror” elements in novel ways that blur genre distinctions, the collection intensifies as recurring motifs flow through the various narratives, settings, and fictional psyches: bodily and mental disintegration, the ambiguities of human physicality and consciousness, and the permeable borders between self and other.” Los Angeles Review of Books

“While these stories have all the earmarks of Evenson’s fiction with varying degrees of violence, horror and dread, A Collapse of Horses doesn’t complete the picture of Evenson’s career so much as spin it in a number of fascinating new directions, each more unsettling than the last.” San Diego City Beat 

“Brian Evenson is one of the few who will still be read a hundred years from now: either by our grandchildren, or by the machines who have killed our grandchildren.” —Hobart, “An interview with Brian Evenson”

“America’s greatest horror writer evokes the schism between perceptions and realities, and, to unsettling effect, collapses the unseen bond that so delicately bridges them.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Brian Evenson is one of the most consistently vital and unnerving voices in writing today.  . . . No matter where you start with Evenson’s work, the door is wide ajar, and once you go through it you won’t be coming out.” —VICE

“Evenson’s stories, small masterworks of literary horror, are elegantly tense. They operate in psychological territory, never relying on grossness or slasher silliness to convey their scariness . . . For the Stephen King fan in the house: an author as capable, if a touch less prolific.” —Kirkus

“Admirers of Evenson (Windeye; Altmann’s Tongue) applaud the edge he maintains between the unexplained and the intimate. This latest collection continues to explore that line, and for how much is left obscured, an eerie emotional echo remains. . . . . Evenson’s journey along the boundaries of short fiction make for an eye-opening dissection of the form.” —Publishers Weekly

“A Collapse of Horses is a master class in unnerving storytelling; seventeen short narratives that range from horror to science fiction and from surrealism to noir. The variety is outstanding, the writing is superb, but what makes this collection deserving of attention is how Evenson manages to achieve a perfect balance between what is on the page and what is left out.” Electric Literature, “A Master at Work”

“Evenson’s writing is something to be read in short intervals, like a good tea that you want to savor to the last drop.” —Twin Cities Geek

“Evenson has become a kind of elder statesman for innovative fiction.” —Tin House, “How Do You Live In A World That’s Not The World You Thought It Was?

“Brian Evenson is one of the treasures of American story writing, a true successor both to the generation of Coover, Barthelme, Hawkes and Co., but also to Edgar Allan Poe.” — Jonathan Lethem

“Brian Evenson’s fiction can both bowl you over with its unpredictable narrative experimentation and chill you to the bone with its ability to unsettle and horrify.” Vol.1 Brooklyn

“A Collapse of Horses is the first of Evenson’s books I have read. Since finishing it, I have read three more, in succession.” —LitReactor, “Bookshots”

“For fans of Stephen King, Kafka, and Lovecraft, A Collapse of HOrses is a delightfully terrifying collection.” —Windsor Independent

“Weaving the act of storytelling into these terrifying stories is no small accomplishment. Evenson’s precision allows him to give his latest book multiple layers—a way of slowly introducing the reader into the same medium as the characters, and indicting them in the process.” —Bookforum

“While they run the gamut of genres, these stories all lie in the same orbit of dark gravity: a field of dust, blood, head trauma, inert flesh, semicorporeal stuff and fear– mainly the terror of what we’re capable of.” —The Rumpus

“One of the most provocative, inventive, and talented writers we have working today.” —The Believer

“Bordering the grey area between literary and horror, the stories allow us to get as close as possible to the point where madness begins to boil over into certainty.” —This is Horror (UK)

“Evenson’s latest book, A Collapse of Horses, reveals that his unsettling talents have grown subtler and stronger–between seventeen stories featuring unsolvable mind-games, drugged-out cults, and space-station claustrophobia, all rendered in Evenson’s unmistakable prose, which is capable of suggesting both grounded realism and jittery paranoia, often at the same time . . . . Evenson excels at bringing different worlds and genres together, and his gift for making contradictory versions of reality overlap often intensifies his work’s creepy effects.”Bookforum, “Bookforum talks with Brian Evenson”

“There is not a more intense, prolific, or apocalyptic writer of fiction in America than Brian Evenson.”—George Saunders

“Packed with enough atrocities to give Thomas Harris pause. . . . Not many writers have the imagination or the audacity to transform what looks like salvation into an utterly original outpost of hell.”Bookforum

“[Brian Evenson] happily straddles both literature and horror in an amalgam that’s rarely so powerful and convincing as in this collection.”Rue Morgue

Praised by Peter Straub for going “furthest out on the sheerest, least sheltered narrative precipice,” Brian Evenson has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the World Fantasy Award and the winner of the International Horror Guild Award, the American Library Association’s award for Best Horror Novel, and one of Time Out New York’s top books. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and three O. Henry Prizes, Evenson lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he directs Brown University’s Literary Arts Program.