While assembling my notes for a review of the Library of America anthology “American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny” (Library of America, two volumes, edited by Peter Straub: “From Poe to the Pulps,” 746 pp., $35; “From the 1940s to Now,” 714 pp., $35), I noticed a peculiar thing. The quotes that I had quarried seemed to assemble themselves into a sort of ur-story, a template of the unheimlich. As I stitched together sentences from the works of writers as varied as F. Scott Fitzgerald and H.P. Lovecraft, John Cheever and Kelly Link, something about the common gambits and rhythms, across nearly two centuries, sent a chill through me. The following text has been constructed entirely from sentences found in “American Fantastic Tales.” Each is numbered and identified at the very end.
The cautious reader will detect a lack of authenticity in the following pages. I am not a cautious reader myself, yet I confess with some concern the absence of much documentary evidence in support of the singular incident I am about to relate. (1) It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to shew by this statement that I am not his murderer. (2)
I am the most unfortunate of men. (3) When I was eight years old my father was killed in the war, and my mother was broken-hearted. (4) My best friend when I was twelve was inflatable.(5) What began as a game, a harmless pastime, quickly took a turn toward the serious and obsessive, which none of us tried to resist. (6)
more from Ed Park at the LA Times here.