The Dark Dark
The acclaimed novelist Samantha Hunt’s first collection of stories blends the literary and the fantastic and brings us characters on the verge—girls turning into women, women turning into deer, people doubling or becoming ghosts, and moreStrange things happen all around us all the time, but is it best to acknowledge or to turn away from moments when the weird pokes its way into our ordinary lives?In these marvelously inventive stories, Samantha Hunt imagines numerous ways in which lives might be altered by the otherworldly. An FBI agent falls in love with a robot built for a suicide mission. A young woman unintentionally cheats on her husband when she is transformed, nightly, into a deer. Two strangers become lovers and find themselves somehow responsible for the resurrection of a dog. A woman tries to start her life anew after the loss of a child but cannot help riddling that new life with lies. Thirteen pregnant teenagers develop a strange relationship with the Founding Fathers of American history. A lonely woman’s fertility treatments become the stuff of science fiction.Magic intrudes. Technology betrays and disappoints. Infidelities lead us beyond the usual conflict. Our bodies change, reproduce, decay, and surprise. With her characteristic unguarded gaze and offbeat humor, Hunt has conjured stories that urge an understanding of youth and mortality, magnification and loss, and hold out the hope that we can know one another more deeply or at least stand side by side to observe the mystery of the world.

The Dark Dark Details

TitleThe Dark Dark
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 18th, 2017
PublisherFSG Originals
ISBN0374282137
ISBN-139780374282134
Number of pages256 pages
Rating
GenreShort Stories, Fiction, Fantasy, Anthologies, Horror

The Dark Dark Review

  • Kevin Kelsey
    July 27, 2017
    Posted at Heradas Review“...voices that insist on being heard, stories that demand to be told, writers who are compelled to show us something new.” is how FSG Originals describes the books they publish, and I would absolutely describe Samantha Hunt’s writing in this way. Her stories are brutal yet beautiful, magical but grounded, sincere, horrific, and essential. Her characters have such unique perspectives on their lives and the events surrounding them; a lot of the time these were perspectives Posted at Heradas Review“...voices that insist on being heard, stories that demand to be told, writers who are compelled to show us something new.” is how FSG Originals describes the books they publish, and I would absolutely describe Samantha Hunt’s writing in this way. Her stories are brutal yet beautiful, magical but grounded, sincere, horrific, and essential. Her characters have such unique perspectives on their lives and the events surrounding them; a lot of the time these were perspectives that I’d never fully considered, but instantly empathized with once exposed to them.These are stories I obviously needed to read. Stories about women and men of all walks of life passing through stages of the fantastic and the mundane, learning about themselves and the world(s) around them. While reading this book I was reminded of that old saying about how reading someone’s book is like having a conversation with them, or getting to know them a little better. With Hunt’s writing, it felt like getting to know several different women at the same time. It’s extraordinarily powerful stuff. Seeing things from these many new perspectives was fascinating for me.There isn’t a bad story in the bunch, but the standouts for me were: The Story Of, All Hands, Love Machine, Wampum, & The Story Of Of. Her prose is tight and expressive. She manages to say so much in so few words, and her writing often dips into the magically realistic, with postmodern sensibilities.I think it’s past due time for me to pick up her novels, and I’m kicking myself for not paying attention when friends were telling me that I should. Oh well, better late than never!P.S. I need to sing a few praises for this cover as well. Book designers have really been outdoing themselves this year, and this one is no exception. This cover fully subverted my pattern recognition engine by using it against itself, that is until I plopped it down on my coffee table absentmindedly and accidentally saw it from a different angle as it lay there sideways, smirking at me. Clever clever.
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  • Amber Schroer
    July 24, 2017
    *** checks head for ticks*** (me whilst reading this because it immerses you so deeply into the stories that you, too , wish to be a deer, if only for the immunity against Lyme disease ;)
  • Calley
    June 24, 2017
    This may just be the best short story collection of 2017. "The Story Of" and "The Story Of Of" are drafts upon drafts of the same story woven together to dramatize a character's desperation to conceive. Absolutely brilliant.
  • Rachel
    February 18, 2017
    The stories in The Dark Dark keep getting better as the book goes on, and by the end I was spellbound. You'd be hard-pressed to find another author like Samantha Hunt. These stories explore not only the extraneous terrors (the dark night and the unknown horrors it holds), but the deep-down fears and savagery and strangeness that exist beyond our understanding. Hunt mines the depths of our subconscious inhumanity to reveal what connects us in ways we can't imagine, and in her fantastic stories li The stories in The Dark Dark keep getting better as the book goes on, and by the end I was spellbound. You'd be hard-pressed to find another author like Samantha Hunt. These stories explore not only the extraneous terrors (the dark night and the unknown horrors it holds), but the deep-down fears and savagery and strangeness that exist beyond our understanding. Hunt mines the depths of our subconscious inhumanity to reveal what connects us in ways we can't imagine, and in her fantastic stories lie the real and familiar. The darkest dark is not an outside entity, but our own humanity, and nobody but Hunt can illuminate the shadowy corners of the soul so well.[Thank you to FSG for the early reader's copy!]
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  • Annesha
    May 17, 2017
    This was some Good Shit.
  • Andrienne
    April 15, 2017
    These short stories hold a lot of meat to ponder, to extricate, to fascinate.
  • Brooke
    July 22, 2017
    These stories really got under my skin. I read the first half of the book in the morning, thought about those stories all day, then finished the book at night. Wow, that last story... I need to read more of this author's work.
  • Kristin Bonilla
    July 22, 2017
    There's so much to admire here, from story level to sentence level. This one will go on the "books to reread" shelf.
  • Cristina
    June 2, 2017
    Like all of Samantha Hunts books, this one will blow you away. I don't normally read or like short stories but these are AMAZING. They are dark, strange and fascinating. I was spellbound long after the last sentence.
  • Kyle Schnitzer
    June 8, 2017
    This collection is a banger.
  • M
    July 28, 2017
    Samantha Hunt brings readers to the edge of the abyss and lets it stare back with her collection of The Dark Dark: Stories. The tales, while differing in execution and arrangement, all deal with the subtle gnawing of life on humanity. The book opens with The Story Of, offering the meeting of two Normas: One is a clean-cut wife trying desperately to get pregnant, while the other is a grungy sister-in-law already on her way to having to child. All Hands brings together a Coast Guard inspector who Samantha Hunt brings readers to the edge of the abyss and lets it stare back with her collection of The Dark Dark: Stories. The tales, while differing in execution and arrangement, all deal with the subtle gnawing of life on humanity. The book opens with The Story Of, offering the meeting of two Normas: One is a clean-cut wife trying desperately to get pregnant, while the other is a grungy sister-in-law already on her way to having to child. All Hands brings together a Coast Guard inspector who falls into the ocean with a high school secretary helping deal with thirteen pregnant students. A woman changes into a deer each night in Beast, a dead dog's resurrection interrupts a housewife's reality in The Yellow, and a daughter home for Thanksgiving loses another piece of her country family in Cortes the Killer. A hurricane threatens a Florida transplant's safe haven during The House Began to Pitch, exposing secrets and lies thought buried. Love, lust, and loneliness intertwine when an FBI agent sends a beautiful robot to kill a mail bomber in Love Machine; a middle-aged woman feeling empty imagines the stories of others while dealing with depression in A Love Story. A teenager tries to entice her much-older crush during Wampum, as young lust and love collide. The collection concludes with The Story Of Of, taking the initial tale and following it down a rabbit hole of what ifs. Samantha Hunt offers unique takes on the simple fears that plague everyday people. Her protagonists are often trapped by fear, uncertainty, and doubt; these human emotions are then ramped up throughout the unsettling situations that envelop them. Despite the clever wordplay, Hunt often bogs down the tales by seguing off into another arena before whipping back to the primary tale. As such, the short tales feel disjointed rather than a cohesive exploration of human ennui. The Dark Dark: Stories peers into the realm of the unknown and offers readers a taste at what is just beyond the everyday.
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  • Maria
    July 24, 2017
    I was thinking of rating this but I feel that I would do it an injustice by doing so. Strictly speaking, if I absolutely had to, I would give it a 3, meaning I liked it, I didn't love it but Hunt has a way of getting under my skin with her prose which is simple and yet so rich in meaning. There is a line in one of the stories towards the end of the book that I find myself replaying in my mind and it's just so simple but so beautiful. She is also very skillful when it comes to finding a balance b I was thinking of rating this but I feel that I would do it an injustice by doing so. Strictly speaking, if I absolutely had to, I would give it a 3, meaning I liked it, I didn't love it but Hunt has a way of getting under my skin with her prose which is simple and yet so rich in meaning. There is a line in one of the stories towards the end of the book that I find myself replaying in my mind and it's just so simple but so beautiful. She is also very skillful when it comes to finding a balance between the mundane and the mystic, I do wish some of these were even more enigmatic but only because I feel she could have handled it very well and it would have made some of the stories more interesting. This is just a personal impression, though.A problem I have with short story collections is I tend to be kind of underwhelmed by them in general, even though I enjoy reading them and I read them often, most of the times I end up finishing a collection and remembering only half of the stories or even less and I can't really say this isn't the case here, hence the 3 star rating I would give the book, but, and this is a big but, there is a beauty and a peculiar otherworldly quality in even the ones that were not that memorable or didn't entirely work for me that I feel is more important than anything else.The last two stories are probably my favorite, the last one just goes all out, it's strange and mesmerizing and ends the collection with a bang. Those final lines... I closed the book and thought, yes, that's the question now, isn't it.
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  • Ann Rufo
    July 27, 2017
    Sometimes I fell incapable of understanding short stories. I feel I get interested just as things end, or I look too hard for connections when they're aren't any. It's possible a lot of the greatness of Hunt's collection was lost on me. But for what it's worth, it was one of the few short story collections that I simply refused to put down. Regardless of format her writing is brilliant. She has an amazing ability to sum up a feeling or experience with a simple line or analogy or some other fasci Sometimes I fell incapable of understanding short stories. I feel I get interested just as things end, or I look too hard for connections when they're aren't any. It's possible a lot of the greatness of Hunt's collection was lost on me. But for what it's worth, it was one of the few short story collections that I simply refused to put down. Regardless of format her writing is brilliant. She has an amazing ability to sum up a feeling or experience with a simple line or analogy or some other fascinating and perfect way to look at something like no one else has before. There are experiences I have shared with some of her characters that I feel Hunt has captured so precisely and perfectly that I wanted to immediately share it, announcing "this is it, this is exactly how that feels." Her writing style is deceptively simple, and oddly eerie. There's a feel as you read that something sinister is about to happen, even though you're not sure why you feel that way. And the collection ends with a story that plays on form, structure and content in a fascinating way. If you, like me, are never sure how to start appreciating short stories, this a good collection to start rethinking things. If you already like them, you'll probably adore this. But one caveat: if you're the kind of person who won't watch the movie where the dog dies, and you start to come across a story with an animal in it. Skip it. Trust me.
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  • Short Story Girl
    July 30, 2017
    These stories break rules; they don't start in the middle of trouble, they don't announce what's at stake, they don't offer epiphanies. Instead, the kernel of crisis hides beneath the story being told, as it hides within the main character. It enters on tiptoe, or slides in as an aside, and there it sits while the story circles around it until the character can't ignore it anymore. The descriptions are fresh, the language interesting, the characters singular and off kilter, facing dramatic circu These stories break rules; they don't start in the middle of trouble, they don't announce what's at stake, they don't offer epiphanies. Instead, the kernel of crisis hides beneath the story being told, as it hides within the main character. It enters on tiptoe, or slides in as an aside, and there it sits while the story circles around it until the character can't ignore it anymore. The descriptions are fresh, the language interesting, the characters singular and off kilter, facing dramatic circumstances often of their own making. These are stories about people on the edge, living on the fringe, trying to fit in and do what's expected. These are stories about people we all know, maybe some of us, hiding in plain view.
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  • Susan
    July 25, 2017
    I listened to the first two stories in audio but I felt like I wasn't understanding them very well so I switched to the written version. Turns out it wasn't me, it was the stories. I switched back and forth between the audio and the written but neither format seemed to make it more enjoyable. While well written and full of creativity this book just wasn't for me. The narrator of the audio version was pretty good although she mispronounced a few words and sometimes her reading was odd with unusua I listened to the first two stories in audio but I felt like I wasn't understanding them very well so I switched to the written version. Turns out it wasn't me, it was the stories. I switched back and forth between the audio and the written but neither format seemed to make it more enjoyable. While well written and full of creativity this book just wasn't for me. The narrator of the audio version was pretty good although she mispronounced a few words and sometimes her reading was odd with unusual pauses and gasps for breath that weren't actually in the text.
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  • Jake
    July 29, 2017
    There are a number of very very very fine stories in here (especially "The Story Of," "All Hands," and "Love Machine") but the one that really puts it over the top is the so-impossibly-good long story "A Love Story." This is a real-deal collection. Buy it and read it.
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  • Ann Theis
    July 28, 2017
    Kirkus PW
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