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Gothic Short Stories (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural)

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This story can be read in the preview of A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories. (Kindle preview)

The thing that is most striking about this story, aside from its restrained, grave beauty, is that it should manage to be so moving. On one level it is a dryly detailed and topographically exact portrait of a small town in the American midwest, but on another it is a devastating threnody for lost love. Gass was one of the great prose stylists, and the writing here is typically smooth and pellucid, conjuring its effects by stealth and unflagging control. Simply, and by simple means, a masterpiece. John Banville “American Express” by James Salter (1988) William Trevor has influenced me more than any other writer, and it’s impossible for me to name one story by him that is an absolute favourite. I can, however, name 20 to 30 stories that I return to often. One of these is “After Rain”. A woman travels alone to recover from a love that has ended too abruptly, but the wish that solitude could exorcise loneliness is as faulty as the wish that love could exorcise disappointment brought by love. The story to me is like an eye drop for the mind. It doesn’t offer a resolution to life’s muddiness, but it offers a moment of clarity. Yiyun Li “In the Heart of the Heart of the Country” by William H Gass (1968) Twilight Zone, “The Midnight Sun.” The last moments reveal that the predicament of the Earth falling into the sun was entirely Norma’s fever dream: the Earth is actually moving away from the sun, which means that the world is freezing to death. The Twilight Zone, “The Hitch-Hiker.” A young woman driving cross-country across America keeps encountering a man at the side of road. Only when she calls for help does realizes that she was killed in a car accident days ago — and the hitch-hiker who says gently, "I belileve you're going my way," is Death.This is a gloriously sensual story, narrated by a man who wants another’s wife – but the true star of the show is the moon. Calvino imagines it so close it risks dipping its scales in the sea. Fishermen gather lunar milk as the protagonist writhes in unrequited love. It is a great example of magic realism – full of texture and motion and mischief and longing. Leone Ross Saoirse Ronan as Briony Tallis in Atonement (2007). Image: Focus Features Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! Inger Stevens as Nan Adams in episode sixteen of Twilight Zone, "The Hitch-hiker" (1960). Image: CBS Productions Not Too Dead To Ruin Everyone’s Day Emotional impact … Akhil Sharma. Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images “We Didn’t Like Him” by Akhil Sharma (2013)

It is uncertain whether it was Turgenev or Dostoevsky who said, “We all came out from under Gogol’s ‘Overcoat’”, but his influence on those writers – as well as on Tolstoy, Kafka, Nabokov, Borges and many more – is profound. The main character of this bleakly hilarious story, the downtrodden government clerk Akaky Akakievich, is arguably the first antihero in modern literature, and his doomed pursuit of a new overcoat one of the most memorably absurd quests in fiction. “Six Feet of the Country” by Nadine Gordimer (1953)

A doctor claims to have water from the legendary Fountain of Youth. He invites four elderly acquaintances over for an experiment. He offers them a drink of the special water. I have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect ⁠— in terror. In this unnerved ⁠— in this pitiable condition⁠ — I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR." The reality of apartheid, and later the effects of its aftermath, dominates Gordimer’s fiction. Here her narrator, who has escaped the tension of Johannesburg to play at farming in a rural suburb, becomes enraged when, following the death and autopsy of one of his workers’ brothers, the authorities return the wrong body for burial. Despite his efforts to achieve justice, the story’s final, bitterly ironic lines reveal that he is blind to his own racism. “Big Two-Hearted River” by Ernest Hemingway (1925) The best part is:most (if not all) of these classic short stories are in the public domain and can bereadonline for free! What could be better than that? A man tells a story from his childhood when he and his friend Nils found the Dead Valley. At the market they found a little dog for sale. They got the money together to buy it but didn’t want to wait until the next week. They walked to Hallsberg to get it. The next day, after staying over night with Nils’s aunt, they set out for home. They left a bit later than planned and ended up still out after dark.

This story can be read in the preview of Dead Letters Anthology. (32% in) “A Haunted House” by Virginia Woolf They will be like shadows, they will be like wraiths, gray members of a congregation of nightmare; hark! his long wavering howl... an aria of fear made audible. The wolfsong is the sound of the rending you will suffer, in itself a murdering.” At least 50/70 of the ideas of this post can be translated to realistic fiction (with some creativity, yeah). That's pretty much,... so? Adrian Prokhoroff attends an anniversary party where there is a lot of drinking. The men poke some fun at his profession of coffin making. His agitated state leads to an unusual incident. “Mister Taylor” by Augusto Monterroso Cashell is on Lake Tanner in a motorboat. It’s a drought year, and the water is low. Earlier, a ski boat was punctured by something and got hung up. His customers had to be brought in by the park ranger. Cashell gets out a mallet and crowbar to break it free. He bangs his hand against the underwater object and suffers an odd injury.


The gothic genre was really popular during the 1800s with Frankenstein , Wuthering Heights and Dracula . But there were stories with Gothic elements before and there have been plenty since. So could you survive the dark world of a gothic novel? This story can be read in the preview of 100 Great American Short Stories. (80% into preview) “The Heart” by Theodore Sturgeon This dark duality arises from seeking answers in science: Jekyll struggled to quell his most disturbing urges for years, ultimately developing a serum to mask them that propels his transformation into the monstrous Mr. Hyde. Hyde feels no remorse for indulging in vice and violent actions, but Jekyll becomes increasingly unable to control his transformations as he is seized by the terrible desires that lurk within him. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Rosemary Cooke starts her story in the middle to disguise the fact that her missing sister is actually a chimpanzee.

Life of Pi. Pi Patel tells a story about cannibalization and survival on the open sea that may or may not be about zoo animals. This is the first story in the preview of Fearful Fathoms II: Collected Tales of Aquatic Terror. (25% into preview) “The Hanged Man” by Edward Bryant Markheim goes to a shop under the guise of looking for a present for someone. He really has murder on his mind, so he can then steal the dealer’s money and goods.

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In case you want to ignore number 2: with "real stories about real people" I suppose you are talking about NON-fiction texts (If you meant "realistic literature", read below). You CAN'T ADD a PLOT TWIST to a NON-FICTION TEXT. Non-fiction is NOT WRITTEN to be ENTERTAINING (but to TEACH readers instead) and plot twists have an ENTERTAINING PURPOSE! Try to take someone's biography and rewrite it modifying their story to turn an important moment into a plot twist. The result will be LITERATURE even if the facts actually took place. Gothic literature, also known as Gothic fiction or Gothic horror, is a genre that centers around dark and spooky elements such as hauntings, creepy settings, and unsettled characters. They can’t be considered the hero of the story because of this, but they are still the main character. Therefore they become the antihero. CHARACTER A is set up with CHARACTER B, a rich politician, and finds herself falling in love with CHARACTER B’S GIRLFRIEND. When described in summary, there is a danger of reducing Borges to a collection of tropes: labyrinths, mirrors, invented books (he avoided “the madness of composing vast books” by pretending they exist and writing commentaries on them). But with these elements he explored some of the most thrilling ideas in fiction. Labyrinths and strange books are both present here, as is a theory of existence that anticipates the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Extraordinarily, all these elements are enfolded within an account of a wartime espionage mission. “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” by Tadeusz Borowski (1946)

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