The Creeping Resurgence of Literary Horror

Jarret Middleton, Darkansas

There are aspects of Jarret Middleton’s novel Darkansas that seem almost self-consciously literary and realistic: its protagonist is a hard-living musician who’s spent his whole life in the shadow of his father, and his twin brother’s wedding offers the potential of reconciliation with his family. And then Middleton takes things in a markedly different direction, invoking the family’s cursed history and introducing a pair of sinister, impossibly long-lived figures with their own interest in the outcome of certain significant events. What begins as a grittily realistic novel turns into a horrifying meditation on fate, family, and violence as it approaches its conclusion.

–Tobias Carroll,