Horror readers anxiously await the arrival of Massachusetts-based author Paul Tremblay’s newest book, Growing Things & Other Stories, available July 2nd, 2019.
It wasn’t really until 2015 that Paul Tremblay emerged on thriller/horror reader radars. It was the year his third novel A Head Full of Ghosts was published and he received the ultimate endorsement of any horror writer- a pull quote from Stephen King himself. Even without the quote, he earned his literary keep and effortlessly bulldozed his way as one of the world’s keenest horror writers to date with this powerful and unnerving book. And honestly- he really hasn’t turned the ignition off yet.
He’s pretty much everything you don’t imagine a horror writer to be at first blush. He’s a teacher (a MATH teacher, ffs) and loves sports. But on the flip side, he is a bona fide horror fan (which you’ll discover in his works and on his social media). Two of his novels have been optioned for film adaptations.
On writing, he often speaks through a child narrator, something that I find both refreshing and tricky to pull off. He combines heartbreak and horror (#heartbreakhorror am I right?) with explorations of familial relationships, youth, friendship, and the most desperate and desolate times of one’s life. He speaks of teachers and writers; of suicide and troubled pasts. A horror reference is never too far from the page, nor is a sudden turn for the worst.
I’ve come to know Tremblay as writer who convinces you that magic is real, that the impossible might be achievable. I also know how he can rip away that guise to reveal the truth is just simple, ugly reality.
The stories within his latest release Growing Things are no different. The book features 19 short stories and clocks in at 352 pages. Regular readers will recognize familiar names and feel at home with discussions of fear, confusion, and what it feels like to lose all hope. These shorts are inhabited by an array of characters but those mostly at rock bottom and/or stuck in a sticky situation attempting to continue on with their lives until it comes to a swift end. They’re delivered in fun fashion, as well. One is told in a series of photographs from a childhood vacation, another in the form of a seemingly normal blog interview. You’ll even behold notes from very, very descriptive dog walkers. There’s no shortage of unhappy endings either, something readers can rely on Paul for worry-free. This collection is a flex of his creativity and harbors entries that read like pages from the most disturbing diaries.
In short, Tremblay doesn’t disappoint with this one. And with more and more awards and nominations springing up, we really didn’t expect him to. He’s found his groove and hasn’t wavered from writing to its tempo. His writing is both subtly eerie and blunt, mystical but grounded. If anything, his writing is sincere, which is undoubtedly the strongest kind.
Growing Things & Other Stories is on sale July 2nd wherever books are sold.