Dark Domain Paperback – Dec 31 1990
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'Grabinski's commitment to a marriage of the newly announced unconscious with the supernatural gives his extravagances some conviction. These short stories offer the pleasure of myths we can crack and skilfully chilling denouements.'
David Buckley in The Observer
'Psycho-fantasies, doom-saturated tales of lonely men lost in hostile terrain, but the melancholy lifts to provide wonderful odd scenes, like the watchmaker whose death stops all the town clocks and the phantom train that always turns up unannounced, surprising the station staff'
'Stories that brilliantly convey his love of supernatural horror. It is not the horror of haunted houses or castles, but that found in everyday modernity around him. In this dark selection, lonely souls travel on trains, coming face to face with sinister conductors and wanton women.'
The Herald --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Stephan Grabinski (1887-1936) Polish short story writer and novelist. Studied at Lvov University before becoming a teacher. He published seven volumes of short stories, three plays and three novels all within the fantasy genre. Dedalus has published a volume of his short stories under the title of The Dark Domain and a further two stories in The Dedalus Book of Polish Fantasy.
Miroslaw Lipinski is a Polish-American translator based in New York City. His passionate advocacy for the writing of Stefan Grabinski has done much to create a readership for Grabinski in the English-speaking world. He has translated a collection of Grabinski stories for Dedalus, The Dark Domain. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
My favorite of the stories in the collection is "Fumes", but the others are all strangely great and compelling as well. Two other exquisite Grabinski tales are unfortunately not in this book. However, English translations of "The Dark Hamlet" can be found in "The Dedalus Book of Polish Fantasy", and "The White Wyrak" can be found in "100 Creepy Little Tales". I look forward to the day when all of Grabinski's horror shorts are available in English translation.
As for the author: Stefan Grabinski was relatively unknown in his native land, fantasy writing at the beginning of the 20th century was not especially popular amongst the Polish reading public. He died in near obscurity. Thankfully, his works have been revisited by a new generation of readers. Roman Polanski, the controversial filmmaker has been said to be inspired by the Grabinski' horror style. Stanislaw Lem, the great Polish sci-fi author is a big fan of his works.
Reading through this collection, you might see the world with Grabinski-esque glasses - I don't think I'll be able to look at trains, snow drifts, empty houses and watchmakers in the same light. (I also recommend the story collections of Bruno Schulz, they are very comparable to Grabinski's work.)
Once again, Dedalus delivers.
It's a must and will certainly fill a gap on fantasy literature.
The train stories are just amazing - This guy wrote one collection of stories just around trains he worked with the modern concept of speed as a moto for the future society which would be obliterated by it... I wonder if he didn't just get it right...
In my teens in began with my first ecstatic reading of Poe, and with discovery of H.P. Lovecraft following shortly after with comparably potent effect. The stories of Grabinski likewise have the power to engage the reader's imagination and evoke a curious blend of horror and wonder - a skill very few writers have mastered.
Grabinski's tales are suffused with dark symbolism, strange fluctuations of consciousness, and a pervasive sense of surrounding evil. Unlike many other early weird writers, Grabinski's horror taps into the primal sexuality of the subconscious to cultivate a surreal and disturbing morass of disturbing psychological interactions. The only other weird writer comparable to Stefan Grabinski is the similarly underappreciated fiction of Robert Aickman (if you only read one story, read 'The Inner Room' - possibly the creepiest tale in literary history).
Anyone who enjoys the fiction of Poe, Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, M.R. James, W.H. Hodgson, and Algernon Blackwood owe it to themselves to check out Stefan Grabinski. Consider yourself lucky to have happened upon one of the lesser known gems of weird horror/fantasy!