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."

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).