I’m about to finish the last couple of stories in an anthology called The New Black, and soon so will you.
I read a lot of anthologies but so far this year, The New Black is the standout. I was thrown off at first because of two things; my idea of “noir”, which all these stories are supposed to be, is different from that of Richard Thomas, the editor of The New Black. Also, the way Laird Barron describes the book in the intro made me think I was about to read a horror anthology;
“Horror and noir are as mercurial as vast oil slicks upon the ocean – solid, primitive objects that nonetheless flow and shift with the currents.”
Kindle vs Paper
I read the first few stories on the version I bought for my Kindle, and then something shinier came along and more books and The New Black fell through the cracks, mostly unread.
Fast forward to the end of September, when Dark House Press has a Halloween sale; paperback editions of The New Black, Echo Lake AND After The People Lights Have Gone Off, all for $20. I threw my money at that sale so hard. When the books came I decided to finish The New Black. In the time since I bought it on Kindle, my preconceptions of the stories had softened and I came to it with a fairly open mind.
It is awesome.
Upon a closer reading of Laird Barron’s intro, I realize that he mostly says not that the stories are horror but that the stories are dark, regardless of their genre. And they are. But more than that it is just the quality of the stories. Some are pure literary stories, some are indeed horror. Roxanne Gay’s story alone is worth the price of the book. So are Craig Wallwork’s, Matt Bell’s and Micaela Morrissette’s.
A man discovers the body of a drowned girl in a lake (and what he does next will shock you!). A girl finds a dollhouse in her attic a few days before her birthday, and it becomes increasingly detailed as the days pass, including replicas of her and her family. And more and more, darker and darker.
So buy it. Buy it now.