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Blood and Water and Other Tales
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Blood and Water and Other Tales

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  169 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Dark, unnerving, and wickedly funny, Patrick McGrath’s acclaimed short stories deal in the bizarre, the erotic, and the unexpected. A failed writer meets an ageing gin-queen who claims he was once visited by an angel; a little girl finds a delirious, dying explorer from the Congo at the bottom of her back garden; a nightclub is terrorized by a strange libidinous hand; and ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published February 1st 1988 by Poseidon Press (first published 1988)
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Blood and Water is the debut collection of stories by Patrick McGrath, author of contemporary Gothic novels which I have recently read and reviewed, Spider and The Grotesque. The stories range from moody and atmospheric to downright hilarious, and among their narrators are not only men and women, but also a fly and a boot.

The best stories in the collection come early. In The Angel, the narrator reminisces about his first meeting with Harry Talboys - an eccentric older man, who claims that he has
Jack Tripper

Here's the (okay-ish) cover for the 1989 Ballantine Books mass-market I own.
Sep 09, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is an entertaining collection of dark, macabre short stories. Like most collections there is some variation in quality, but here that means from the merely good to the very excellent. The thirteen tales all invoke the shadows that lie in the human heart and in the dark spaces of our world. Some are merely surreal while others are more disturbing entering the realm of the grotesque, but in each there is a vein of sardonic humor.

I know that I had read a couple of them before – surely no one e
Nov 10, 2015 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patrick McGrath is one of those writers who could have been, and almost was, a major presence in contemporary literature, not to mention the new gothic and the weird. Unfortunately, it hasn't quite worked out that way. There have been some lazily misconceived books ('Port Mungo' anyone?), a fascination with New York (never a good thing, even if one is a New Yorker), and a tendency to repetition, usually in a forlorn attempt to recapture the glory days of 'Dr Haggard's Disease' and 'Asylum'. 'DHD ...more
Jan 20, 2015 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was Patrick McGrath's first book, and I actually recall first seeing his writing in some anthologies or literary magazines back in the 1980s. Here he sets out a mixed bag of tales, a few of which are brilliant, and a few which are merely oddities, but still attention-grabbing ones. At his best, he is a first-rate prose stylist who manipulates playfully the elements of his stories and comes up with stuff that is unique. To call him a literary horror/gothic writer fails to capture the range o ...more
Dec 28, 2012 CasualDebris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collections, horror
For my full-length review and reviews on the individual stories, please visit Casual Debris.
My rating is 7/10... had a hard time translating to 3/5 or 4/5.

Amid its varied approach, the stories in Blood and Water offer tales narrated by both men and women, as well as by other more unusual narrators, such as a boot and a fly. Stories take place in England, India and the US, from Manhattan and Greenwich Village to the Louisiana bayou. We have tales about houses, family histories, vengeance, psychol
Mar 15, 2010 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disturbing, vibrant stories. My first time reading McGrath but I was blown away from the first. Has some gothic tinges (Poe-ish in places) and magical realism, although it's plenty creepy and gorgeously crafted even when he's playing it straight.
Aug 31, 2007 Clint rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another really really underrated author, I've never met anyone in real life who's even heard of him, but he writes this really deadpan, funny, scary stuff. Highly highly recommended.
Claudia aka la viandante dei libri
Avere un padre psichiatra ...

... influenza molto il tuo modo di scrivere e il tuo modo di vivere le emozioni. Soprattutto un padre che ha lavorato in uno dei più famosi manicomi criminali inglesi, Broadmoor, e in'epoca in cui gli psichiatri (anni'50 e '60)erano portatori di un sapere assoluto a proposito della mente dell'uomo. Questa serie di racconti filtrano l'esperienza di vita di Patrick McGrath che qui coglie l'occasione per narrare, in forma alquanto romanzata, alcuni temi cari alla psichi
Dec 07, 2015 Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shortish tales with the shifting reality of nightmares. Disturbing well done.
Dec 30, 2009 Jail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mcgrath is more of a stylist than a storyteller. His sentences have a jeweled and funny factuality to them, even when the subject matter is pedestrian but it especially works on the more nightmarish and surreal turns. In particular the story "The Skewer" about a psychotic tormented by miniature buzzing psychiatrists.
My difficulty is when the stories are a bit too tongue-in-cheek, I have difficulty caring if I feel that as well as not being much more than an excercise in style the author does no
Mar 08, 2014 Rattling rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ambrose Syme is five stars.
Aug 09, 2011 Seth rated it it was amazing
Easily one of the best books of short stories I've ever read. I tend to treat my copy rather gently, since it's out of print and I like it so much. The stories themselves are strange, surreal, heartbreaking and deviously clever, Gothic and macabre and above-all unique. My personal favorites are "The Boot's Tale" (which is possibly my favorite short story ever) and "Ambrose Syme" (which is a bit more serious, but no less horrifying). But really, all the stories in this collection deserve to be re ...more
Daniel Etherington
An enjoyable selection of short stories, mostly with grotesque or gothic twists and turns. Some set in the US, others in the UK, many with common themes (colonialism; rot & decay; questionable sanity).

Written with an ornate, frequently excessive style, some of the stories are are brilliant (the stand-out story is the Southern Gothic 'Marmilion') while others are more experimental and borderline padding (such as a PA story narrated by a boot, and another narrated by a fly).
Nov 22, 2013 Simona rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mi dispiace S. gr Mcgrath,
ma questa volta non ci siamo.
Dimenticate per un attimo le emozioni che "Follia" vi ha regalato, perché in questi 13 racconti non c'è nulla, o per lo meno nulla che valga l'emozione.
Le tematiche care a Mcgrath come l'ossessione, la passione che sfocia in delitto, la follia, l'ironia emergono, ma scivolano via senza lasciare nulla, il vuoto assoluto.
Mcgrath scrive in modo ineccepibile e meraviglioso, ma non mi ha conquistato.
Jan 06, 2008 Frank rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay, this wasn't the whole book. Just a couple stories in the Penguin 60's series.

I did like "The Black Hand of the Raj". It seemed to work, as it was more tongue in cheek, which is the only way his style of macabre tale telling works for me.

I likes me little books though.
Mark Richfield
Aug 26, 2013 Mark Richfield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mark by: Art, writing, science, film, engineering, political & military science, occult, and time travel.
Brilliant literary horror... if there is such a thing. i was blown away by this man. I read it about the time I discovered Clive Barker and he took quite a number of levels beyond Mr Barker.
Gregor Xane
Oct 11, 2010 Gregor Xane rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
Overwritten for comic effect or simply overwritten? I can't say. Either way, it's entertaining stuff.
The Angel and The Lost Explorer are macabre, disturbing and entertaining, more on these later.
Dec 19, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blood & Water & Othr by Patrick Mcgrath (1989)
Mats Malmqvist
Det här är bra!!!
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Patrick McGrath was born on 7th February, 1950 in London and grew up near Broadmoor Hospital where his father was Medical Superintendent. He was educated at Stonyhurst College. He is a British novelist whose work has been categorized as gothic fiction. He is married to actress Maria Aitken and lives in New York City.
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