AMARANTHINE AND OTHER STORIES

PrintE-mail Written by Jon Towlson

Intestinal parasites, books bound with human skin, killer seaweed. Welcome to the twisted world of Amaranthine, the latest work by Erik Hofstatter. In his previous novella, Katerina, Hofstatter gave us a darkly disturbing tale of erotic horror, the promise of which is amply fulfilled in Amaranthine. Here are nine short stories that - like all the best dark fiction - grow in the mind long after they have been read. Amaranthine demonstrates Hofstatter’s ability to hook the reader in just a few short, tightly woven sentences - leaving a tiny seed of horror to germinate in the imagination.

Hofstatter’s stories in Amaranthine revolve around love, loss, and heartbreak; with instantly relatable protagonists who seem to be defined by their loneliness. Hofstatter immediately ties you into their situation and this makes even the most outlandish tales in the collection believable. ‘We all want to be loved’, Hofstatter writes about his opening story, The Birthing Tub, ‘You might reach out to your parents, siblings, sons or daughters, cats or dogs, but what if you had absolutely no one to reach out to? What then? Perhaps Eli would become your only friend, too’. While it would be giving too much away to reveal who – or what – Eli is or why Sean, the heartbroken man of Hofstatter’s story, gives birth to him, suffice it to say bodily abjection features strongly in Amaranthine. But Hofstatter never lets the Yuk factor overpower the human element of his stories - they are as much about emotional trauma as they are about body horror. Hofstatter keeps the horror realistic.

In the notes which accompany Amaranthine, Hofstatter discusses his influences, which range from H.P. Lovecraft to the Evil Dead franchise. These notes make a wonderful end to the collection, and give Hofstatter the opportunity to talk about his love of the genre and the writing process. It’s always intriguing to learn where an author gets his ideas and Hofstatter constantly surprises us with the sources of his inspiration. Like Stephen King and Clive Barker, Hofstatter has a voice that is distinctive and highly engaging, and, like those maestros, is certain to become a major writer in the world of horror.

AMARANTHINE AND OTHER STORIES / AUTHOR: ERIK HOFSTATTER / PUBLISHER: CREATIVIA / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 


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