Squinting, slinky dread permeates the stories of The Dark Dark, each addressing a common violation, each one warped, curdled, and imbued with plausible menace. Samantha Hunt brilliantly performs the holistic sort of sorcery we need to survive the demons at the door, wielding razor wit and a withering gaze. A prowling, incandescent seance in book form. Recommended By Justin W., Powells.com
Samantha Hunt's collection is full of transformations: women becoming mothers, people becoming ghosts, and women becoming deer. Like the title suggests, the stories are dark and give off a feeling like the corners of your room are closing in. While definitely unsettling, the collection is wholly consuming, witchy, and transformative. As I was reading about the changes these women go through, I felt myself becoming something not necessarily darker, but new. Read this with the overhead light turned off and your salt lamp turned on. Recommended By Emily L., Powells.com
Imaginative and feral, Samantha Hunt’s first book of short stories is full of hidden things, of murk and twilight. Haunting and eloquent, sprinkled with Hunt’s trademark splashes of wry humor, The Dark Dark is the perfect companion for a long summer afternoon. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed author of Mr. Splitfoot, Samantha Hunt's first collection of stories, The Dark Dark, blends the literary and the fantastic and brings us characters on the verge — girls turning into women, women turning into deer, people doubling or becoming ghosts, and more.
Step into The Dark Dark, where an award-winning, acclaimed novelist debuts her first collection of short stories and conjures entire universes in just a few pages — conjures, splits in half, mines for humor, destroys with absurdity, and regenerates. In prose that sparkles and haunts, Samantha Hunt playfully pushes the bounds of the expected and fills every corner with vibrant life, imagining numerous ways in which the weird might poke its way through the mundane. Each of these ten haunting, inventive tales brings us to the brink — of creation, mortality and immortality, infidelity and transformation, technological innovation and historical revision, loneliness and communion, and every kind of love.
Laced with lyricism, hope, Hunt’s characteristic sly wit, and her unflinching gaze into the ordinary horrors of human existence, The Dark Dark celebrates the mysteries and connections that swirl around us. It’s never all the same, Hunt tells us. It changes a tiny bit every time. See for yourself.
"A feminist manifesto threaded through imaginative fiction; it's the most evocative, impressive collection I've read this year." Daniel Johnson, The Paris Review
“Beguiling...daring...Hunt at her best is a lot like the uncle of one character, who is described as ‘so good at imagining things’ that ‘he makes the imagined things real.’ Hunt’s dreamlike images operate in service to earthbound ideas...[She] gets at the myriad ways women work to keep their self-possession in the face of social and interpersonal expectations.” John Williams, The New York Times
“The Dark Dark...wields such a subtle and alien power that I couldn’t read more than a couple of pieces in a sitting without feeling like some witchy substance was working its way through my blood...Wonderfully spooky.” Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
"These short stories are works of dark, dark magic that skitter between worlds both recognizable and wholly new.... [a] tour de force collection from one of our most inventive storytellers." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
About the Author
Samantha Hunt’s novel about Nikola Tesla, The Invention of Everything Else, was a finalist for the Orange Prize and winner of the Bard Fiction Prize. Her first novel, The Seas, earned her selection as one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Her novel, Mr. Splitfoot, was an IndieNext Pick. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, Tin House, A Public Space, and many other publications. She lives in upstate New York.