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About Nathan Ballingrud
I'm Nathan Ballingrud. I live in Asheville, NC, with my daughter. I write literary dark fantasy and horror. I'm a big fan of writers like Richard Ford, Annie Proulx, Lucius Shepard, and Clive Barker. I think the world is a pretty dark and unforgiving place, but a beautiful place, too. That's what I like to write about.
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A World Fantasy Award nominee, “this anthology . . . is a collection of some of the most talented horror and speculative fiction authors writing today” (BuzzFeed). It includes all-new stories by Laird Barron, Pat Cadigan, Brian Evenson, Jeffrey Ford, Caítlin R. Kiernan, Garth Nix, Michael Marshall Smith, Kaaron Warren, and other masters of all things spooky and suspenseful.
In tales that crisscross the boundaries of fear and imagination—from a haunted courtyard in New Orleans to a remote Arctic research station—swamp monsters, pool-cleaning robots, and cannibalistic spirits wreak chaos and terror across the pages. You’ll be invited to a prom where a psycho hides inside a sparkly dress or rented tux; on a trip aboard a train to a destination that teems with ghosts; and into the darkest recesses of a human mind, the most fertile ground for the blossoming of true evil.
“Datlow’s ‘experimental’ crowdfunded horror anthology is nicely unthemed. . . . This is an excellent anthology for horror fans, with a nice range of tones and styles and some intriguing new voices.” —Publishers Weekly
“[Fearful Symmetries] not only goes beyond expectations, it raises the bar high above into the horror heavens. . . . A melting pot of distinct voices and styles that leave you wanting more.” —Hellnotes
“One of the best horror anthologies I’ve ever read.” —Thirteen O’Clock
“One of the field’s most accomplished short story writers.” —The Washington Post
A gripping collection of six stories of terror—including the novella “The Visible Filth,” the basis for the upcoming major motion picture—by Shirley Jackson Award–winning author Nathan Ballingrud, hailed as a major new voice by Jeff VanderMeer, Paul Tremblay, and Carmen Maria Machado—“one of the most heavyweight horror authors out there” (The Verge).
In his first collection, North American Lake Monsters, Nathan Ballingrud carved out a distinctly singular place in American fiction with his “piercing and merciless” (Toronto Globe and Mail) portrayals of the monsters that haunt our lives—both real and imagined: “What Nathan Ballingrud does in North American Lake Monsters is to reinvigorate the horror tradition” (Los Angeles Review of Books).
Now, in Wounds, Ballingrud follows up with an even more confounding, strange, and utterly entrancing collection of six stories, including one new novella. From the eerie dread descending upon a New Orleans dive bartender after a cell phone is left behind in a rollicking bar fight in “The Visible Filth” to the search for the map of hell in “The Butcher’s Table,” Ballingrud’s beautifully crafted stories are riveting in their quietly terrifying depictions of the murky line between the known and the unknown.
These are love stories. And also monster stories. Sometimes these are monsters in their traditional guises, sometimes they wear the faces of parents, lovers, or ourselves. The often working-class people in these stories are driven to extremes by love. Sometimes, they are ruined; sometimes redeemed. All are faced with the loneliest corners of themselves and strive to find an escape.
Nathan Ballingrud was born in Massachusetts but has spent most of his life in the South. He worked as a bartender in New Orleans and New York City and a cook on offshore oil rigs. His story "The Monsters of Heaven" won the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his daughter.
Previously published as North American Lake Monsters. Monsterland is a new anthology TV series from Hulu based on Nathan Ballingrud’s striking, bleak, and luminous debut collection, starring Kaitlyn Dever, Kelly Marie Tran, Jonathan Tucker, and Taylor Schilling, and more.
Ballingrud’s Shirley Jackson Award winning collection of gothic and uncanny stories investigates the loneliest and darkest corners of contemporary American life. Ballingrud’s stories are love stories. They’re also monster stories. Sometimes the monsters collected here are vampires or werewolves. Sometimes they wear the faces of parents, lovers, brothers, ex-wives—or the faces we see in our mirrors.
The people in these stories, ex-cons, single parents, unemployed laborers, kids seduced by extremism, are stranded by life, driven to desperate acts by love and a longing for connection. Sometimes they’re ruined; sometimes redeemed. They are always recognizably, wonderfully, terrifyingly human, even at their most monstrous.