The end of the year brings weeks of festivities, holiday cheer, and our annual celebration of genre writing. We're countering the merriment with a dose of the macabre, greeting the long nights of winter with literary chills from round the world. In palatial villas and rustic inns, pursuing dreams and fleeing nightmares, characters are menaced by forces both supernatural and ominously familiar. Germany’s Markus Orths and Italy’s Marco Candida dispatch travelers on vacations in hell. Japanese master Okamoto Kido welcomes a hideous guest to a remote mountain cabin. Finland's Jyrki Vainonen sees a dutiful son cultivate a gruesome garden. Madcap Catalan Quim Monzó takes fraternal devotion to a ghoulish extreme. France’s Laurent Graff’s cursed woman battles an unusual identity crisis. Serbian Dejana Dimitrevic sews up a story of obsession. Prix du Jeune Écrivain français honoree Vincent Mondiot marks a deadly annual tradition. And Brazilian Mario Sabino’s stymied artist creates a fatal masterpiece. You’ll want to read this issue with the lights on.

Elsewhere this month, Ko Un calls up past lives, Violeta Ivkovic searches for holiday trim on a tropical island, and Ioan Es. Pop drinks to (and during) Christmas Eve.

Also in this Issue

The Island

A Christmas tree doesn’t go walking around on its own.

The Amigo

He’s so drunk he can hardly stand and he’s bruised all over.

The Boy in the Cave

When night fell he kept company with ghosts

A Monk with No Name

Buddha, don’t stay in a temple like this.

Book Reviews

Aharon Shabtai’s “War & Love, Love & War”

Aharon Shabtai’s new poetry collection War & Love, Love & War is, as its title suggests, a book full of reversals and inversions.

Manoel de Barros’s “Birds for a Demolition”

Barros's poems are all at once small bestiaries and collections of aphorisms

The Cover

The Cover looks as if it’s alive. It moves and wriggles in Smilja’s hands.

My Brother

Only someone who’s undressed a dead person can know how hard it is.