The end of the year brings weeks of festivities, holiday cheer, and our annual celebration of genre writing. We’re countering the merriment with a dose of the macabre, greeting the long nights of winter with literary chills from round the world. In palatial villas and rustic inns, pursuing dreams and fleeing nightmares, characters are menaced by forces both supernatural and ominously familiar. Germany’s Markus Orths and Italy’s Marco Candida dispatch travelers on vacations in hell. Japanese master Okamoto Kido welcomes a hideous guest to a remote mountain cabin. Finland’s Jyrki Vainonen sees a dutiful son cultivate a gruesome garden. Madcap Catalan Quim Monzó takes fraternal devotion to a ghoulish extreme. France’s Laurent Graff’s cursed woman battles an unusual identity crisis. Serbian Dejana Dimitrevic sews up a story of obsession. Prix du Jeune Écrivain français honoree Vincent Mondiot marks a deadly annual tradition. And Brazilian Mario Sabino’s stymied artist creates a fatal masterpiece. You’ll want to read this issue with the lights on.
Elsewhere this month, Ko Un calls up past lives, Violeta Ivkovic searches for holiday trim on a tropical island, and Ioan Es. Pop drinks to (and during) Christmas Eve.