Maciek's Reviews > Magic Terror

Magic Terror by Peter Straub
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May 01, 11

bookshelves: horror, short-story-collections, read-in-2011, reviewed
Read from April 03 to 28, 2011

A curious collection of not-so-short fiction by one of my favorite authors, Magic Terror offers 7 tales where each is unique and not two are alike.

Indeed ,there is quite a diversity of "Magic Terror"."Bunny is Good Bread" is a disturbing, but fiendishly compelling story of a psychopatic killer being born, "Ashputtle" is equally disturbing tale of a schoolteacher who is not as kind as you might have thought. There's even an espionage story titled "Isn't it Romantic?" and a small flashback to the Koko years in "The Ghost Village", which recounts an incident in an abandoned Vietnam settlement.
"Porkpie Hat" paints vidid pictures and is a complexly structured narrative: The titular Hat is a jazz musician, and from his drunken ramblings an interviewer puts together a disurbing account of one summer night in 1920's Missisipi. "Hunger, an Introduction" is a weird story which in my opinion doesn't really work, and the concludng novella "Mr. Clubb and Mr.Cuff" owes a lot to Poe's Dr.Tarr and Professor Feather, along with Melville's most famous short tale of Bartleby. Combining the two influences, Straub's longest entry in this volume reads like a black comedy, full of bizarre characters who talk and act almost like caricatures, ambiguity and gruesomeness.

To sum up, this was quite a pleasant collection, and I enjoyed it a lot. Straub's voice changes from story to story, and each of them offers an unique reading experience. If you've never read Peter Straub before, I'd recommend starting with one of his novels. If you did, then what are you waiting for? Jump right in and experience Magic Terror.
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Reading Progress

04/03/2011 page 70
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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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Becky Wow... I bow down to you, sir. You managed to finish this one and not want to gouge out your own eyes with a rusty spoon. You are perhaps more glutton for punishment than you claim!


Maciek LOL. I actually rather enjoyed it! I really liked "The Ghost Village", because if featured familiar characters. And I like Peter Straub. Have you read any of his novels?


message 3: by Becky (last edited Apr 28, 2011 11:36AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky Maciek wrote: "LOL. I actually rather enjoyed it! I really liked "The Ghost Village", because if featured familiar characters. And I like Peter Straub. Have you read any of his novels?"

Nope... I'm waiting on you to give me a recommendation so that I can hate it and tell you you're wrong... I mean so that I can give it a fair shot and be fair. Fairly. O_o


Maciek LOL. With that attitude I doub't you'll like the guy. This volume must have really irked you, eh? The fourth story is called "Bunny is good bread" and is creepy as hell!


message 5: by Tressa (new)

Tressa I bought this book from our library bookstore last year and read "Bunny Is Good Bread" and "Ashputtle" and loved them. You're right, Bunny is creeepy.


Maciek Oh yes, it is. It's one wicked story. I also really liked "The Ghost Village" because it featured familiar characters. "Porkpie Hat" was creepy too.


Maciek Besides, a library bookstore? This sounds so cool.


message 8: by Tressa (new)

Tressa I might have read "Porkpie Hat," but don't remember it. Sometimes I easily forget short stories. I still have the book under my desk; will have to pull it out and read the others.

We have a big system and there are lots of discards from weeding and donations. We used to have huge book sales every few years, but we decided to open a bookstore up on the second floor where the media dept. used to be.


Maciek Give it a try, you might like it.

This sounds so cool! Would love to shop there.


message 10: by Tressa (new)

Tressa I've found some good horror there before, and some good readers for Luke.


Maciek The only sale at my small library consitsts of deleted volumes, which are stamped and mostly of no interest for me. I'd love to go to a big book sale.


message 12: by Tressa (new)

Tressa Maybe you will one day. :-D

Back in the '80s the bookstore Little Professor was going out of business. I walked away with an armful of sale books.


message 13: by Maciek (last edited May 02, 2011 12:41PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maciek Who knows.

There was a big used bookstore which was called "the palace of used books". They had to go out of business, and announced an ending sale. A ticket cost 10 bucks or so, and you could walk out with as much as you could carry. At 8 AM the traders appeared, and at 1PM it was over.


message 14: by Greg (new)

Greg Maciek wrote: "Who knows.

There was a big used bookstore which was called "the palace of used books". They had to go out of business, and announced an ending sale. A ticket cost 10 bucks or so, and you could wal..."


That's my kind of sale!

Also it's interesting that we've both read single-author anthologies in the same month - just a coincidence... right? :P (I'll finish my review tomorrow.)


message 15: by Maciek (last edited May 04, 2011 05:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maciek I bet this has something to do with the fact that we both dig anthologies! Get it? Dig anthologies.


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