The Atlantic

The Books Briefing: What Makes These Horror Stories So Scary Isn’t Just the Ghosts

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Source: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Halloween is just a few days away, and here at the Books Briefing, we’re diving into all things spooky and supernatural. For these authors, horror doesn’t just come from ghosts or magic or mysterious deaths. Rather, successfully scary stories remind readers of the fragility and instability of life—something that the writers Victor LaValle andwhich has recently been adapted as a Netflix series, a haunted house takes on new meaning as it comes to represent the protagonist’s internal agitations. And lest we forget, some of our childhood favorites by Maurice Sendak and R. L. Stine gave us, ahem, precisely because the stories laid bare—and helped us process—our greatest fears about life and death.

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