Victor LaValle

The author of The Devil in Silver picks three haunting favorites.



In his debut short story collection, Slapboxing with Jesus, Victor LaValle mined his childhood in 1980s Queens to craft twelve interconnected tales that evoked the best of Junot Díaz. His most recent novel, The Devil in Silver, finds a seemingly sane man teaming up with a handful of his fellow inmates to vanquish the monster that stalks a mental institution's halls. As Halloween fast approaches, LaValle points us this week to "three books that will haunt you."


Books by Victor LaValle



We Have Always Lived in the Castle

By Shirley Jackson


"This short, unnerving novel tells the story of Constance, Merricat, and Uncle Julian, the last surviving members of a once powerful family. The rest of the clan was poisoned at dinner one night, and Constance was arrested for the crime. This story is a masterpiece of atmosphere and a stunning psychological portrait. You can read it in a day; it'll stay with you for a lifetime."



A Personal Matter

By Kenzaburo Oe


"Bird is a young Japanese man who dreams of traveling to Africa. But when his wife gives birth to a child with a brain defect Bird's life is thrown into chaos. The doctors suggest letting the child die rather than live as a "monster." Bird goes through a test of his soul as he tries to find the inner strength to choose his damaged child over the pressures and conventions of 1960's Japan."



Books of Blood

By Clive Barker


"I first read this collection of wild, brutal, fantastic horror stories when I was young. I couldn't believe one person could come up with so much outrageous material. I also couldn't believe someone would publish it! And yet, what makes these stories so good is not only the horror but the dark humor, the psychological insight, and the deft feel for language that Barker displays."

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.