The Nameless Dark

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Some time ago, Ted Grau asked me if I’d take a look at his forthcoming collection of stories, The Nameless Dark, and, if I liked what I read, maybe write a blurb for it.  I said sure.  I read it, and kept reading it, and liked it very much, indeed.  This is what I sent him:

T.E. Grau’s stories range across time and space, from Victorian-era London to contemporary Los Angeles, from America’s western frontier to the bohemian gatherings of Beat-inflected San Francisco.  In prose elegant and engaging, he details the lives of men and women, children and adults, who have arrived at places where the world they know peels away to reveal another, darker place.  It is a place where childhood fairy tales converge with stories of things older still, where the history we know is a mask for things better left concealed.  Grau’s attention to character makes their discovery of this other place resonate long after each story is done.  There are echoes of Bradbury in here, Lovecraft and Chandler, among others.  But it is Grau’s success to evoke these writers without lapsing into pastiche.  Instead, he has produced an impressive, gripping collection of fiction.  I recommend it highly.

–John Langan, author of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies

For reasons having nothing to do with Ted, the blurb never made it to the printed book.  That’s fine:  I still got to read his stories, so as far as I’m concerned, I came out on the winning end of things.  Ted sent me a copy of the finished book, which was very generous, but he included with it something even more generous, a piece of Ray Bradbury’s stupidly-demolished home (a few fragments of which Ted managed to save before they were carted away).

Talk about being bowled over.  I’ve written a little bit about Bradbury’s importance to me as a writer, but there’s much more to say on the subject.  For the moment, suffice it to say, one of the nicest compliments my fiction has received came from a reader who compared it to Bradbury’s and T.C. Boyle’s, by which he meant that he never knew what he was going to get when he sat down with one of my stories.  For this little piece of his house to arrive felt positively uncanny.  It was like something out of a Ray Bradbury story.  Of course, some of those end…less than ideally for their protagonists.

Before I open my front door and find myself in the southern California of fifty years ago, however, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ted for his gift publicly, and to share what I wrote for his book with a wider audience.  If you don’t have a copy of Ted’s collection, do yourself a favor, and pick it up.

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One thought on “The Nameless Dark

  1. T.E. Grau says:

    Thank you, John. I’ve always felt very similar vibes in your work to that of Mr. Bradbury’s. Of all the top level dark fiction writers working today, your work is the most like his. I’m so glad you have a small piece of what he left behind, and that I could act as a vessel for delivering that to you.

    And while I’m a bit bummed that your blurb didn’t make it into the finished book, I’ll cherish your thoughts on The Nameless Dark.

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