View Full Version : Brian Evenson

Dr. Zirk
09-19-2005, 05:05 PM
I've just recently discovered an author that I think might be of interest to other fans of TL. Brian Evenson is an American academic who writes fiction, and those pieces of his fiction that I've read so far are dark and disturbing on a level that I thought only Ligotti was truly capable of. If you're curious, an ideal short piece to read by way of introduction is "Prairie":


Apparently Evenson is a Mormon, but quit a position at Brigham Young University partially as a result of BYU's discomfort with the dark nature of his fiction. An interesting back story, to be sure.

09-19-2005, 05:53 PM
Apparently Evenson is a Mormon, but quit a position at Brigham Young University partially as a result of BYU's discomfort with the dark nature of his fiction. An interesting back story, to be sure.

I'm not of this denomination, but since I'm always interested in reading horror authors with a strong religious background (that doesn't translate into the kind of proselytizing seen in Lahaye and Jenkins), I checked out "Prairie."

THAT is one nasty little tale, and of course I mean that in the best way possible. I'm going to read the other stories soon as well. How did you hear of this author by the way?

Dr. Zirk
09-19-2005, 06:59 PM
I discovered Evenson's works through the recommendation of David Memmott, who runs the Wordcraft of Oregon imprint. David also published Thomas Wiloch's Mr. Templeton's Toyshop, which has been discussed elsewhere on TLO.

I'm reading Evenson's Contagion now, and I can certainly recommend it. That title is from Wordcraft of Oregon, but some of Evenson's other titles on other imprints can be found through Shocklines, Project Pulp, etc. as well.

It seems as though almost everything you could ever want to know about Evenson can be found here:


Happy reading!

09-21-2005, 01:01 AM
Thanks for that nicely exhaustive PDF (and rather cool of Evenson to be involved with an Ant-Zen release!), Dr. Zirk, and also, of course, for "introducing" the work of Evenson to those of us here who've not heard of him.

09-21-2005, 07:27 AM
Thanks for the link to Evenson's stories Dr. Zirk. I have "Brotherhood of Mutilation" and it is relentless. An absolutely brutal little book w/a really sly sense of humour - http://www.earthlingpub.com/be_mutilation.htm

G.S.C., Eldritch00, and bendk - The Evenson book above and Conrad Williams' "Game" (also published by Earthling) are good examples of a noir/horror hybrid done properly. They both come at it from different angles too. Evenson has a more (sur)realist bent while Williams' goes for a dull on supernatural thing.

Dr. Zirk
09-21-2005, 02:11 PM
Thanks N/A for letting me know that "Brotherhood of Mutilation" is worthwhile - I've got that one on order from Shocklines. I've become so fascinated with Evenson's work that I've also ordered his most recent collection, "The Wavering Knife", from FC2 in Florida:


The more I read of his stuff, the more I have to rank Evenson as a true peer to TL, and I don't say that lightly. Who knew that professional academics could have so much talent! (just kidding...)

09-21-2005, 03:00 PM
Thanks, Dr. Zirk.
Brian Evenson's work sounds intriguing. I had never heard of him before. The fact that Brigham Young University put pressure on him to stop writing in a similar vein to his first book ALTMANN'S TONGUE:STORIES AND A NOVELLA makes me curious. I find this kind of censorship contemptible. I also find it fascinating when religious writers delve into the dark side of existence without deluding themselves completely. Speaking of which, one of the most ridiculously deluded books that I ever read was a novella called TICKER KHAN by Bamber Gascoigne. If you ever want to read an essay in the pathetic, read this 60 page pie in the sky piece of crap. It is not poorly written, only the ideas are pitiful. It is an ANIMAL FARM type novella that ties all the evil in the world into a nice benevolent bow. It is interesting what mental gymnastics some people will put themselves through in order to maintain their untarnished view of the world.

Thanks, N/A.
THE GAME by Conrad Williams sounds interesting too. These kinds of recommendations are one of the things I enjoy about TLO.

09-22-2005, 05:52 PM
Bookslut has a fairly recent interview with Brian Evenson:

09-23-2005, 02:24 AM

Thanks for the link, g, it was an interesting interview. Evenson mentions a few authors that have influenced TL: Nabokov, Beckett, and Bernhard. He also has a high opinion of Jim Thompson, which is pretty cool. What he said about his novel DARK PROPERTY is interesting. The fact that he used 'dead words' and transformed verbs to modifiers and nouns to verbs and then placed them in a 'clean context' in order to resurrect them. He has also studied madness as a literary technique. That's a class I missed in college. "The Mario Lanza Experience" sounds darkly humorous. Part of the back story reminds me of when Ed Wood tried to persuade that one producer that he was the perfect person to direct The Christine Jorgensen Story (Later changed to Glen or Glenda. What a movie!)

Dr. Zirk
09-26-2005, 05:08 PM
Since I noticed that Evenson didn't already have his own Wikipedia article, I went ahead and created one. Evenson himself approved the content before posting, so it ought to be pretty accurate.


If any of you are Wikipedians, add content as you see fit...

Dr. Zirk
09-28-2005, 06:06 PM
Thanks to N/A for the recommend on Evenson's The Brotherhood of Mutilation. I read it last night and it's a doozy. A nice little murder mystery surrounded by a bizarre setting and characters that are surprisingly well defined for such a short work.

Sort of reminds me of some of Peter Greenaway's films (particularly The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover) with a grotesque environment and chilling characters wrapped around an (almost) standard genre plot - a very impressive and nasty little piece of literature!

Dr. Zirk
12-27-2005, 01:18 PM
I was pleased to learn that Brian Evenson won the 2004 International Horror Guild Award for a Collection for his book The Wavering Knife. I just finished reading that one recently and he certainly deserved the award. It's a great book overall, and the story "The Progenitor" is particularly haunting.

The Wavering Knife is definitely recommended, along with Contagion and Other Stories if you're curious about Evenson and his uniquely intense vein of black humor and moral bleakness.

The New Nonsense
01-26-2009, 04:39 PM
Some Brian Evenson news:

Brian Evenson has a new novel coming out very soon titled LAST DAYS. This is an expansion his 2003 novella, BROTHERHOOD OF MUTILATION to a full-length novel with intro by Peter Straub. Straub praises Evenson for going, "furthest out on the sheerest, least sheltered narrative precipice,"

Evenson also has a new collection of horror stories called FUGUE STATE, due out in July of '09.

Seems his relocation to Providence, RI has stirred his creative muse, much as it did another Providence writer before him.

The New Nonsense
06-21-2009, 12:12 PM
Evenson's FUGE STATE is now available. http://images.amazon.com/images/P/1566892252.01._SX140_SY225_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

From Amazon:

"The stories in this collection will thrill, unsettle, and captivate. Like lanterns in dark rooms, paper boats carried down on subterranean waters, they lead the reader into mysterious and perilous territory. Read at your own risk."—Kelly Link

Illustrated by graphic novelist Zak Sally, Brian Evenson’s hallucinatory and darkly comic stories of paranoia, pursuit, sensory deprivation, amnesia, and retribution rattle the cages of the psyche and peer into the gaping moral chasm that opens when we become estranged from ourselves. From sadistic bosses with secret fears to a woman trapped in a mime’s imaginary box, and from a post-apocalyptic misidentified Messiah to unwitting portraitists of the dead, the mind-bending world of this modern-day Edgar Allan Poe exposes the horror contained within our daily lives.

12-02-2016, 05:19 PM
I love Brian Evenson. Has anyone read 'A Collapse of Horses'? Stories like Black Bark and Click totally feel like they inhabit the same world as Ligotti.

12-02-2016, 05:44 PM
I love Brian Evenson. Has anyone read 'A Collapse of Horses'? Stories like Black Bark and Click totally feel like they inhabit the same world as Ligotti.

Me, too. I reviewed that collection here:
A Collapse of Horses | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews (https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/a-collapse-of-horses/)

12-02-2016, 07:05 PM
I also love Brian Evenson! People who describe him as "a modern Poe" seem to be right on the mark.

And that is an excellent and insightful review, Des! I had not seen that one before; thank you for posting that.

12-04-2016, 05:15 PM
Me, too. I reviewed that collection here:
A Collapse of Horses | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews (https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/a-collapse-of-horses/)

"...you would think you would NEED it to get more ostentatiously strange, with even stranger words and ideas, more deeply textured with semantics and tentacular syntax, teeming with strangenesses and an inscrutably rich intaglio of objective-correlatives.
But, no.
This story has proved that someone like you who is addicted to such fiction actually NEEDS things to become drier, dustier, more bolus-shaped..."