Happy Halloween, lit geeks.
via Daily Beast:
Horror Goes Highbrow
With Colson Whitehead writing a zombie novel and “Granta” releasing a horror issue, monsters and scares aren’t just the domain of mass market anymore. Josh Dzieza on why we relish well-written fright.
It’s a good time to be a horror fan. Vampires, zombies, and their ilk, in their seemingly unstoppable spread across the culture, are shedding the ghettoization of genre and striving for respectability alongside mainstream dramas. When The Walking Dead came to AMC last year, critics questioned whether it belonged with the likes of Mad Men and Breaking Bad. But it looks like the zombies made it: It was renewed for a third season after the second debuted to the largest basic-cable audience ever.
Monsters have been climbing up the literary hierarchy as well. When the first installment of Justin Cronin’s vampire saga, The Passage, came out last year, it was marketed not as pulp genre fare but as a serious novel, with emphasis on Cronin’s literary bona fides—his degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his PEN/Hemingway award. Last summer Glen Duncan gave us an erudite werewolf coping with ennui as he evades assassination by the heirs of Van Helsing, and Benjamin Percy, author of the acclaimed short-story series Refresh, Refresh, is working on a werewolf novel of his own, called Red Moon, the story of persecuted Lycans and a clash between xenophobic civilizations.
Now, with Colson Whitehead’s Zone One, readers looking for a literary zombie novel are no longer limited to Jane Austen mashups.