Peter Straub’s Blue Rose trilogy (Koko, Mystery, and The Throat) is one of the landmark accomplishments of modern popular fiction. Ranging from the Caribbean to Vietnam to the American Midwest and spanning decades of tumultuous history, these books are both unforgettable narratives and indelible portraits of people in extremis, struggling to survive in a world marked by grief, loss, pain, trauma, and homicidal madness. The four stories gathered here are offshoots of that larger fictional universe. Each one stands entirely on its own. Together, they shine a revelatory light on the mysteries and hidden corners of the novels that inspired them.
“Blue Rose” recounts a defining moment in the childhood of Koko’s Harry Beevers, the moment when the ten-year-old Harry discovers his capacity for violence and brutality. “The Juniper Tree” describes, with almost unbearable clarity, a lonely young boy’s encounter with adult betrayal, and with the darker aspects of human sexuality. “The Ghost Village” takes us to the phantasmagoric landscape of Vietnam, where the barriers between the living and the dead begin to dissolve, to mesmerizing effect. “Bunny is Good Bread” is arguably Straub’s single most harrowing story. With relentless attention to detail, it anatomizes the creation of a human monster through abuse, cruelty, and neglect.
These disturbing, beautifully written stories have a moral weight and emotional resonance that only the finest fiction achieves. They are the clear product of a master storyteller at the very top of his game. No one who reads them is likely to forget them, or come away unchanged.
About Peter Straub
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Published May 30, 2012
by Subterranean Press.
Horror, Literature & Fiction.