With Halloween only days away and an unfortunate excess of literary deaths already experienced in 2013, this feels like the perfect time to introduce a long-standing horror writer I’ve only recently had the pleasure of encountering.
I discovered the vivid, grotesque, sensuous writing of Poppy Z. Brite via a Penguin 60s picked up in my local Oxfam bookshop. This miniature book was too intriguing not to take home.
His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood and Other Stories comprises four extraordinary tales that are now seared into my brain. At once utterly insidiously delectable and hideously repulsive, they offer up visions in which rotten corpses rise from floodwater sodden graves, and statues of goddess lure you to enter “a gash in the universe” that is “rimmed in blood and ash.”
There’s so much beauty intertwined with the horror of these tales, so much opulence among the shit and gore, that you emerge entranced and disgusted, and disconcertingly hungry for more.