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Sefira and Other Betrayals Paperback – 20 Apr 2019
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"John Langan’s Sefira and Other Betrayals (Hippocampus), an outstanding collection of horror stories by a literary writer whose work will unnerve you as deeply as Shirley Jackson’s."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
"John Langan is a beast of a contemporary horror writer. Sefira and Other Betrayals would be career-defining for some authors. In Langan's case, this is merely his best work this decade."—Laird Barron, author of Black Mountain
"John Langan is a Leviathan of modern weird fiction."—Paul St. John Mackintosh, L. A. Review of Books
"John Langan is one of the few great wizards who not only understands but as mastered the magic of the darkly weird. His prose is both beautiful, fantastical dream and terrifying nightmare, subtle in its delivery and staggering in its implication. In Sefira and Other Betrayals, readers stand on the shore of a strange sea full of monsters, with its tide of secrets and emotions tugging the ground out slowly from underneath. Undoubtedly, readers can't help but be drawn in by its surreal and inexorable undertow."—Mary SanGiovanni, author of Behind the Door and host of Cosmic Shenanigans podcast
"With Sefira and Other Betrayals John Langan cements the fact that he is one of the strongest voices in literary horror. His willingness to tell a story that pulls no punches is refreshing. The fact that his prose is so richly textured is beautiful. It's a divine combination that is resent in all of works and I love and envy the man's talent."—James A. Moore, author of Boomtown and the Seven Forges fantasy series.
"Langan is a master of the short-story form, and his trade in the terrifying and supernatural should not take away from the literary nature of these layered tales full of thought-provoking dread and relentless monsters, and the lyrical beauty of the words that tie it all together."—Becky Spratford, Booklist Online
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Sefira & Other Betrayals is Langan’s third book released in the last six years, following his critically acclaimed and well received novel, The Fisherman in 2016, and his previously published collection The Wide, Carnivorous Sky (also well loved and received) in 2013.
The stories vary from literary horror involving demonic deities, like a succubus (“Sefira”), the Devil (“At Home in the House of the Devil”), and a vampire of a different type (“The Third Always Behind You”), to weird things that you wouldn’t expect to be terrifying, like balloons (“The Unbearable Proximity of Mr. Dunn’s Balloons”), and something similar to that of the shape of a jellyfish (“Bloom”), to the old gods, like Kronos, the father of the thunder and sky god, Zeus (“In Paris, in the Mouth of Kronos”).
Sorry, I’m rambling… There’s just so many things in this book that I could praise and go on about. It’s that good. So, I’ll wrap it up.
All the stories in Sefira are wonderful, digging deep into the characters and revealing the different layers that betrayal can be, in different times and settings. However, my personal favorite of this collection is “The Unbearable Proximity of Mr. Dunn’s Balloons,” the story that made me wonder the most where Langan was going with the story until the end, in which everything tied together to give a satisfying, albeit bittersweet, ending.
I highly recommend you purchase it, especially if you’re already a fan of Langan’s work.
So, do get this book and enjoy some time spent revisiting some of your own betrayals as witnessed through the eyes of another.