Gothic Readers Book Club

The Gothic Readers Book Club is a gathering of like-minded souls who read Gothic literature. Our goal is promote the best in modern and classic Gothic literature from around the globe.

Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle is a modern interpretation of the classic Gothic nightmare world of pain, suffering, and the questionable supernatural. Our protagonist endures an almost unbelievable series of horrors, only to discover a lunatic at his bedside. Marianne weaves a tale of reincarnation, ancient love, and centuries of redemption through the fiery inferno of time. Taken literally, the novel is overblown and nearly absurd. This is not a literal work however. Like many novels in the Gothic literary tradition, it's rich in symbolism, metaphor, and analogy. The fiery car crash that introduces the novel is the beginning of the descent into the depths of Hell itself. Our sculptress figuratively carves a new life for him out of her fantastical tales. Get lost in the imagery and depth here.

If You Like: Dante, Milton

What is there not to love about this collection? It's a collection of some of the greatest Gothic writers of all time. Irving, Hawthorne, Poe,

Setterfield's story is a sweeping tale of sisters. love, Gothic nightmares, and ghosts from the past. A dying writer, Vida Winter calls upon a woman she has never met to tell her final story. Hence the title. This final story is the narrative of Vida's family. Winter digs deep into the past, into her darkest memories, to recount the horrific and bizarre events of the Angelfield family. Setterfield's descriptions of the mysterious and frightening moors harkens back to the tradition of the Brontë sisters. Her emotional landscapes are intense, haunting, and disturbing. She captures that Gothic sense of universality, devoid of time and place, that haunts the ages.

If You Like: the Brontë sisters, Henry James

Klein should be a household name in horror. His writing style is dark and dystopic. He crafts subtle tales of dread and fear. His characters are dark, bordering on the sinister, and live without hope for any future. The atmosphere builds in each novella through the skilled use of elegant prose. Klein's narrative is based around the shadows of the mundane world. Secrets, hidden spaces gradually unfold as he draws the reader into the underbelly corridors of broken cities.

If You Like: H.P. Lovecraft

James Avonleigh's Reiko: A Japanese Ghost Story is a haunting story of murder and revenge set in Japan. Four friends die under very mysterious circumstances. A paranormal investigator from Britain arrives to discover there are dark secrets lurking in the shadows of the tiny village of Izumi. Avonleigh returns to the ghost story tradition of Henry James and gives us a tale of fear and suspense. He crafts a tale of uncertainty and challenges the reader to question sanity, reality, and evil.

If You Like: Henry James, Algernon Blackwood

 Dark Duet is a collection of poetry that must be read. It demands your attention, luring you into its dark depths with subtle strokes and haunting melodies. This is the poetic world of shadows and light, good and evil, past, present, and future.You will not find cliche tropes here. Instead, Addison and Wilson weave complex tapestries of sinister enchantment. You must read on, but you fear what comes next. It's poetry of the unknown secrets and dark places that lurk just around the corner.

If you like: Lord Byron, Samuel Coleridge

Peter Straub's Ghost Story is a tale straight out of the Gothic classic literary style. Monstrous deeds, decades of guilt, revenge, and death stalk the pages of this timeless novel. Straub's narrative is complex and challenges the reader's notion of reality and fantasy. As young men, these four committed a most foul deed. But what is really happening fifty years later? What is truth and what is supernatural? Does it matter in the end if the mind believes? Straub captures the tone, suspense, and atmosphere of Gothic with skill and style.

If You Like: Wilkie Collins, Henry James

Andrew Wolter's writing fuses the classic elements of Gothic literature with modern themes from the LGBT community in a very dark, appealing way. This is a short story collection and Wolter delves into the tragedy, power, and intensity of human bonds and human evil. He explores love, passion, hatred, and viciousness much like Ambrose Bierce did over a century before. His characters are well-drawn and he crafts his narratives carefully to keep the suspense and fear tight and intense.

If You Like: Ambrose Bierce, Edith Wharton

Several weeks ago, our members engaged in an intense debate over zombies. There are many great zombie stories out there, but are they Gothic literature? We agreed that although many are fantastic horror, zombies just don't quite fit the Gothic literary tradition. The emphasis in a zombie story is gore over suspense. Character and setting development take second place to the horror elements through plot. Ty Schwamberger's novella The Fields is a rare exception. It's both a fantastic horror story and a great piece of Gothic fiction. Rather than an eating brains/ walking dead story, Schwamberger has crafted a tale of human frailty, ignorance, and evil within the framework of the zombie story. The walking dead serve the Gothic narrative rather than serve as the plot device. It's more a tale of humans than shambling corpses and this one of the most critical facets to Gothic literature. Do not be afraid of the zombies with this one.

If you like: Guy de Maupassant, H.P. Lovecraft

Sometimes we here at the Gothic Readers Book Club feel that true Gothic poetry is a dead art. No pun intended. Lord Byron and his ilk proved that verse could convey as much intensity and passion as narrative, but modern writers don't seem to feel the same. Dark poetry is in an even worse state than general poetry. Gary Crawfodr and Bruce Boston restored our faith. Notes from the Shadow City explores the darkest depth of an imaginary city through verse. From siren songs to pure evil to the shadows themselves, the rhythms and phrases seduce you into the underbelly. The words chill, enthrall, enchant, and horrify. Byron would be proud.

If you like: Byron, Shelley, Keats

Malfi's tale reflects the psychological horror of Gothic. It's not gore and violence. There's a powerful sense of unease throughout the story. There are things lurking in the shadows and around the corners. Things we cannot see, but we know are there. The suspense is intense and frightening and Malfi builds the tension well. Like the classic Gothic novels, we are never really sure about our protagonist. What's real and what's not here? Are the horrors and haunts real manifestations or imagined? Malfi challenges the fine line between insanity and supernatural here.

If you like: Henry James, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Algernon Blackwood