BOOK REVIEW / Paperbacks: The New Gothic - ed Patrick McGrath & Bradford Morrow: Picador, pounds 5.99

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If you don't think there's enough 'horror, madness, monstrosity, death, disease, terror, evil and weird sexuality' about already, the New Gothic is for you. This bracing anthology of 21 stories reinvents the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe by excavating the dank basement of the human psyche. The editors make a plausible case for the genre's seriousness, and there's no disputing the literary quality of such contributors as Angela Carter, Joyce Carol Oates, Martin Amis, Janice Galloway and the excellent McGrath himself. But, for all the ostensible horror and solemnity of the subject matter, what chiefly comes across is unadulterated relish; these writers are all having a damn good time.