London Gothic

London Gothic: Short Stories by Nicholas Royle

In his fourth short story collection, an exploration of the dark side of modern London, Nicholas Royle redefines urban Gothic for the twenty-first century. Often writing against a background of film, art or literature, he unearths unease in the streets of Shepherd’s Bush, Hackney or South Tottenham, and creates uncanny effects with innovative, experimental forms.

The IndieMuse Review

The present volume is the first one of an intended set of three collections, the other two being devoted to Manchester and Paris.

In the meantime we enjoy the volume about London, where the new gothic can be traced to London’s secret corners, those corners which fascinate anyone who loves the city, including myself. Thus, being on the same wavelength, Royle’s prose adds to the feeling that London, although ever changing, as necessary, remains something unique.

Not all the included stories are memorable (even Royle, after all, is only human) but most of them are really quite good.

In “The Neighbours”, the meetings between a man and a woman are spoiled by the silent but quite tangible presence of neighbours behind a wall, while in the puzzling “Trompe l’oeuil”, an art critic is apparently pursued by a mysterious woman (or is it the other way around?)

“Standard Gauge” is a dark story of madness and obsession, revolving around an abandoned Tube station, while “Train, Night” is yet another perceptive analysis of human relationships.

The riveting, insightful “Empty Boxes” portrays a cinema enthusiast collecting boxes where the smell and atmosphere of long gone London movie theaters are trapped.

In “The Vote”, the trivial events going on at a country hotel in England during a short vacation involve several elderly couple with their tics and their frustrations.

Nicholas Royle is such a well known and prolific British author that  I’m sure you are already familiar with at least a portion of his body of work. If, by any chance, you’re not, take this opportunity to get acquainted with him.

MARIO GUSLANDI

Mario Guslandi was born in Milan (Italy), where he currently lives. A long time fan of dark fiction, he’s probably the only Italian who reviews horror and supernatural tales in English. Over the years his reviews have appeared in many genre sites such as Horrorworld, The British Fantasy Society, Hellnotes, The Agony Column, Thirteen o’ Clock, Emerald City, SF Revu etc.

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