Author: Edward White
Original language: English
One of the most distinctive volumes of American weird fiction, all of which were based on nightmares of the author, a classics teacher in the Baltimore area and a longtime sufferer from migraine (“sick headaches,” as he called them) who killed himself after the death of his beloved wife.
White wrote fiction in the summer to supplement his income, his most successful work being the solid but now rather dull works of historical fiction. Another motive, for the stories, was to get them out of his system. All of the stories in this collection have an unforced strangeness to them that is emblematic of their origins. The title story, anthologized twenty-three times according to Ashley and Contento, is fairly well known, but all of the others are worth reading as well. There is nothing else quite like this stuff. It is doubly unusual for its period, when American fiction underwent a divorce between the slicks and the pulps. White’s nightmare stories were too grotesque for the slicks, and too “literary” for the pulps. Like the work of many another genius they turned out to be better suited for posterity than for his own time.