Greetings from the Ether,
Leading up to the much-anticipated release of dark fiction writer T.E. Grau‘s novella I Am The River, The Gehenna Post is doing an exclusive review series of Grau’s two previous works, The Nameless Dark: A Collection (the article you are reading now) and They Don’t Come Home Anymore. Once the review series is finalized, we will publish an interview with the critically-acclaimed author, spotlighting his upcoming novella from Lethe Press.
Without further ado, let us enter the abyss.
With the recent resurgence in interest of the Dark and Weird Fiction genres, many voices have risen from the depths of horror’s catacombs. Figures such as Nathan Ballingrud, Laird Barron, and Brian Evenson revitalizing the genre once more. Yet not many others have had the explosion of popularity and critical acclaim that T.E. Grau has amassed. Grau had been writing for several years before releasing his first single-author collection, appearing in anthologies such as World War Cthulhu and In the Court of the Yellow King.
With The Nameless Dark, Grau stunned the horror community and even garnered a nomination for the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Single-Author Collection.
What makes The Nameless Dark such a masterful collection is the diversity in which it holds. Tales from all eras of history, others fantastical and mythic, culminate to a series of journeys that will not only frighten the reader, but also fill them with wonder and spectacle. Each story is handled meticulously and written to a point of crisp, concise storytelling that is difficult to emulate let alone execute.
Opening with a dark tale that borders literary fiction, “Tubby’s Big Swim,” the collection quickly shifts through beautifully handled and rejuvenating Lovecraftian pieces such as “The Screamer,” “Transmission,” and “Twinkle, Twinkle,” while also exploring realms of Thomas Ligotti-esque atmosphere in works such as “Expat.” Mythical tales like “Mr. Lupus” and “Truffle Pig” clash elegantly with post apocalyptic themes in “Free Fireworks” and horror/suspense tension with “Beer & Worms.” Grau flawlessly climbs further, nestling his way into Native American and Civil War era themes (in stories like “White Feather”) while including cautionary tales (à la “Clean”) that are derivative of Stephen King’s older writings along the way.
Grau not only delves into several different genres throughout The Nameless Dark, but his seamless transitions are accompanied with differing narratives and storytelling structures that constantly keep the reader on their feet and grasping the pages white-knuckled. T.E. Grau makes a statement with his debut work, extracting our fears from our minds and spilling them onto white pages with masterful language and gripping narration. The dream-like qualities of his writing encumber the readers with an entrancing, sinister essence.
Frequenters of horror should include The Nameless Dark in their “must reads” list, while considering that this collection holds a rare distinction of being so well-written that fans of the genre will be helpless but to visit the terrifying realms of Grau’s imagination again and again. Establishing himself as an authority that deserves to be recognized, dark fiction’s most promising young voice detonates into the field of horror with cataclysmic power, harnessing enough fire to not only stand beside the other greats, but to also cement his position amongst them for many years to come.
T.E. Grau is the author of dozens of stories and other written works, including the books They Don’t Come Home Anymore, Triptych: Three Cosmic Tales, The Lost Aklo Stories, The Mission, and The Nameless Dark, which was nominated for a 2015 Shirley Jackson Award for Single-Author Collection, and ranks as the bestselling book published by Lethe Press in both 2015 and 2016. His most recent work is the novella I Am The River, which will be published in late-2017 by Lethe Press. Grau lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter, and is currently working on his second collection and first novel.
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