Short Review: The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Volume 2

The Short Reviews Series

The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Volume 2 edited by James D. Jenkins and Ryan Cagle (Valancourt, 2022).

This is the anticipated sequel to the first volume, which brought a broader range of previously untranslated global horror fiction to an anglophone audience than any previous publication. My full review is forthcoming in World Literature Today, but it’s worth noting that this volume is a major boon to us horror and world literature lovers, the kind of people who suddenly think on a Tuesday afternoon, “hmm, I wonder what the horror scene in Malta is like?” Apparently they’ve got their own Stephen King, Anton Grasso, though the chosen story from his oeuvre is an unimpressive play on folktales about a bug bite turning into a nest of eggs that birth forth a horde of insects one day.

I hope these volumes keep coming. I don’t find all the stories impressive; about half are forgettable, a handful are memorable and worth returning to (the Estonian, Swiss, Bulgarian, and Haitian ones, for example), and the rest are meh. But that’s OK, I think, because not all literature—and definitely not all horror—slaps the same with all readers, and in my book the more exposure to a broader range of world horror fiction, the better, more interesting, and richer our experience of horror and what it can do will be. So while few stories were personally enjoyable, I say, keep these volumes coming, Valancourt! (Already I’m dying to read the collection they are putting together of horror translated from endangered languages!)

A longer review, published in World Literature Today, can be found here.


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