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The Dark Dark

9780374716523 fc
Paperback, FSG Originals, 2017
3052397 %281%29

Samantha Hunt

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A Best Book of 2017: 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.

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  • "Liminal fantasy with a solid literary sensibility; sure to please fans of Karen Russell and Lidia Yuknavitch . . . The Dark Dark chews on some delicious, evergreen themes in extraordinary ways." 

    Carmen Maria Machado, NPR

  • "A daring collection in which Hunt gives her imagination free reign, allowing her characters to careen off the rails in their search for something more in the darkness." 

    Joy Press, Los Angeles Times

  • “In stories full of doubles and doppelgangers, splitting cells and shadowy figures, Samantha Hunt evokes the uncanny in areas—suburbia, motherhood, marriage—all too often made mundane by lesser writers. In Hunt’s singular voice, however, a wife’s desire becomes a matter of bodily metamorphosis; a dusty backroad becomes a portal between worlds. Vivid and uncompromising, each story is unsettling—not only to the characters within it, upended by a world gone sideways, but to the reader, who recognizes in those characters her own weird thoughts and longings. There it is, the strangeness at the center of our lives, laid bare and fairly pulsing on the page.”

    Mairead Small Staid, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
  • “I was enamored with Mr. Splitfoot and didn’t think Samantha Hunt could top that book. I was wrong. The stories in The Dark Dark keep getting better as the book goes on, and by the end I was spellbound. You’d be hard-pressed to find another author like Samantha Hunt. These stories explore not only extraneous terrors (the dark night and the unknown horrors it holds), but also the deep-down fears and savagery and strangeness that exist beyond our understanding. Hunt mines the depths of our subconscious inhumanity to reveal what connects us in ways we can’t imagine, and in her fantastic stories lie the real and familiar. The darkest dark is not an outside entity, but our own humanity, and nobody but Hunt can illuminate the shadowy corners of the soul so well.”

    Rachel Kaplan, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
  • "Designed to jolt and beguile . . . This excellent, inventive collection . . . is rife with observant asides, sly humor, and surprises."

    Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • "These short stories are works of dark, dark magic that skitter between worlds both recognizable and wholly new. Fans of Hunt's work will revel in her first story collection, which marries her signature flare for the fantastic with keen observation and sharp prose . . . Grab your comforter and a flashlight for this tour de force collection from one of our most inventive storytellers."

    Kirkus, starred review
  • "The stories intertwine what’s extraordinary and familiar in meaningful ways, taking on density and weight . . . Reading pleasures abound in Hunt’s incisive and witty prose and characters who linger in the mind like acquaintances you hope to meet again.”

    Katie Pelletier, The Portland Mercury
  • "The Dark Dark reads like a feminist manifesto threaded through imaginative fiction; it’s the most evocative, impressive collection I’ve read this year."

    Daniel Johnson, The Paris Review
  • "What makes The Dark Dark so refreshing is Hunt’s willingness to work in the unapologetically weird . . . It’s a welcome statement of purpose, and a reminder that certain familiar places and themes are ripe for their own fictional revival."

    Tobias Carroll, Bookforum

  • "The stories are marked with superbly nuanced writing, a rich sense of visual detail and perhaps a kind of courage on the part of the author, as she dares blending fantasy with naturalism."

    David Wiegand, The San Francisco Chronicle
  • "Samantha Hunt writes about the ordinary through a supernatural kaleidoscope. She holds the mundane and extraordinary up to the light and tries to explain the shadows . . . Hunt's writing does not gloss over the dark, ugly parts of womanhood. Instead, she allows women the space to be wild in ways the real world does not—by writing with empathy and grace."

    Carolyn Quimby, Chronogram
  • "Hunt, with the publication of her first collection of stories, “The Dark Dark,’’ is poised to break through as one of our major fiction writers . . . Hunt is by turns hilarious, wry, wrenching, and lyrical."

    Priscilla Gilman, The Boston Globe

  • The Dark Dark . . . wields such a subtle and alien power that I couldn’t read more than a couple of pieces in a sitting without feeling like some witchy substance was working its way through my blood . . . Wonderfully spooky.”

    Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

  • The Dark Dark, more than anything else, is an example of the sheer force of storytelling, of the power of narrative to elicit understanding and emotional response at an unspeakable, unspoken level.”

    Robert J. Wiersema, The National Post