and Other Horror Stories
by Arthur Machen, edited by Aaron Worth. Oxford Univ.
Hardback, 448 pages.
"Editor Worth has assembled a connoisseur’s collection of the work of legendary Welsh writer Machen (1863–1947), whose weird fiction frequently features characters who pierce the veil of the ordinary and encounter terrifying mysteries and marvels beyond it. In addition to such established classics as “The Great God Pan,” about the unholy offspring spawned by a misguided medical experiment, and “The White People,” an account of an innocent young girl’s indoctrination into a malignant witch cult, the book’s 19 stories include the complete episodic novel “The Three Impostors,” whose frame narrative about the clash between materialism and mysticism provide context for the stories usually excerpted from it (notably “Novel of the Black Seal,” about an incautious investigator’s encounter with a hideous survival from the pagan past). Worth has also harvested a number of sketches from Machen’s later collections that are notable for their depictions of ordinary lives touched subtly by the strange. This is a must-have collection of landmark tales of horror."