Creepy or Odd Books or Story Suggestions
June 1, 2010 9:48 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for something along the lines of “The Lottery” or “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”. Any suggestions?
posted by abbat to Education (31 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
Donald Antrim's The Hundred Brothers springs to mind.
posted by CutaneousRabbit at 9:50 AM on June 1, 2010

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, also by Shirley Jackson (who wrote The Lottery).
posted by amro at 9:52 AM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

Also, maybe some Edgar Allan Poe?
posted by amro at 9:53 AM on June 1, 2010

Kelly Link. Anything she's written.

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

The anthology the Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet.

All fantastic good stuff.
posted by bibliogrrl at 9:54 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber definitely fits the "creepy" criterion.
posted by litnerd at 9:55 AM on June 1, 2010

It's not quite in the same category (i.e. it's not very violent), but if you're looking for creepy and strange, The Swimmer by John Cheever is excellent.
posted by gkhan at 9:55 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I read both of those in the same unit in 11th grade English class, and the other story in the unit was A Rose for Emily (Faulkner), which I also loved.
posted by something something at 10:00 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I started reading all of the Sherlock Holmes books and stories recently, and have become obsessed. My favorite story so far is The Adventure of the Speckled Band.

Also great is An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.
posted by phunniemee at 10:05 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Since someone's already suggested Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, give Saki/Hector Hugh Munro a try, say, "The Interlopers."
posted by pullayup at 10:14 AM on June 1, 2010

Kafka. Try 'In the Penal Colony.'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:18 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Roald Dahl's short stories are unexpectedly creepy. Try Lamb to the Slaughter.
posted by rachaelfaith at 10:33 AM on June 1, 2010 [5 favorites]

Three great creepy short stories online:

"Lamb to the Slaughter," by Roald Dahl
"The Most Dangerous Game," by Richard Connell
"The Lady, or the Tiger?" by Frank Stockton

Also look into Alice Munro, she's a brilliant writer and some of her stories are very unsettling, but in odd or unexpected ways. A few are online:
"Free Radicals"
posted by sallybrown at 10:42 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

Maybe some James Tiptree? Love is the Plan and the Plan is Death and The Women Men Don't See are both as awesome as their titles. Both are short stories and should be available online.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:53 AM on June 1, 2010

More odd than creepy, but great: One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts, also by Shirley Jackson.

Creepy, odd, often considered a horror story, and just as often considered a feminist story: Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper.

Neither are violent, if that's what you're looking for, however.
posted by thinman at 10:59 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Kind of similar is Ursula K. Le Guin's short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. (full text pdf / wiki)
posted by Zephyrial at 11:04 AM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

I agree with amro, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is excellent.
posted by OmieWise at 11:12 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Heh, it was Omiewise who recommended that book to me, actually.
posted by amro at 11:19 AM on June 1, 2010

The Books of Blood by Clive Barker had a really great story called "In The Hills, The Cities". The synopsis on the wiki page totally spoils it, but it isn't overtly grotesque and it's just a fascinating bit of a read. Didn't read any of the other short stories, but I've heard good things. (And found out about the book through Ask Mefi anyway.)
posted by disillusioned at 11:32 AM on June 1, 2010

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (a new book, but historical/creepy fiction) is excellent.

Henry James and Edith Wharton both wrote some creepy stuff. James's Turn of the Screw is good, and you might also enjoy Edith Wharton's Ghost Stories.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:36 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Similar to The Lottery is Orson Scott Card's Kingsmeat.

As for creepy Ian Banks' The Wasp Factory is a bit different than your examples but really creeped me out.
posted by cftarnas at 11:50 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Aimee Bender has some anthologies of short fiction, which can be seriously odd and unsettling. Also, maybe try Tobias Wolff's "Hunters in the Snow" and Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"
posted by deep thought sunstar at 1:17 PM on June 1, 2010

I always loved D.H. Lawrence's A Horse Dealer's Daughter. I'm not sure if it's as southern (clearly country though). Still, I think it fits the general tone.
posted by willnot at 1:54 PM on June 1, 2010

Metafilter's Favorite: All Summer in a Day.

The external links section has a link to a Word doc of the story.
posted by peep at 3:28 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

"The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin
posted by cam295 at 7:50 PM on June 1, 2010

Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 8:00 PM on June 1, 2010

The House Taken Over by Julio Cortazar
posted by interplanetjanet at 8:51 PM on June 1, 2010

Avram Davidson's The House the Blakeneys Built.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:27 PM on June 1, 2010

Robert Aickman.
posted by Iridic at 12:50 PM on June 2, 2010

Joyce Carol Oates' Haunted collection, especially the story Martyrdom.

The Atrocity Exhibition short story collection by J. G. Ballard.

Many of the short stories in the Year's Best of Fantasy and Horror series are right along the lines you are looking for - there are lots of non-fantastic but creepy straight fiction.
posted by benzenedream at 1:00 PM on June 4, 2010

Seconding Kafka's "In the Penal Colony" and also "The Yellow Wallpaper" --

A couple years ago I read a novel called "The Keep," which takes place in the modern day, in a castle in Eastern Europe. It's pretty psychological, and I found it unsettling enough that it took a while to fall asleep each night..
posted by aintthattheway at 5:28 AM on July 21, 2010

NYRB released a slim collection of Daphne DuMaurier's short stories and a bunch are pretty creepy, especially "Blue Lenses."
posted by ifjuly at 12:38 PM on August 3, 2010

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