Wednesday, September 7, 2022


Peter Straub: R.I.P. 

Peter Straub, whose literary novels of terror, mystery, and the supernatural placed him in the top ranks of the horror-fiction boom of the 1970s and ’80s, alongside writers like Ira Levin, Anne Rice and his close friend and collaborator Stephen King, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 79. 

His death, at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, was caused by complications after breaking a hip, his wife, Susan Straub, said. 

 Mr. Straub was both a master of his genre and an anxious occupant of it. Novels like “Julia” (1975) and “Ghost Story” (1979) helped revivify a once-creaking field, even though he insisted that his work transcended categorization and that he wrote how he wanted, only to watch readers and critics pigeonhole him as a horror novelist. Not that he could complain about what critics and readers thought. Starting with “Julia,” his third novel, about a woman who is haunted by a spirit that may or may not be her dead daughter, Mr. Straub won praise from reviewers and topped best seller charts with a type of story that had previously been sidelined as sub-literary.

“He was a unique writer in a lot of ways,” Mr. King said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “He was not only a literary writer with a poetic sensibility, but he was readable. And that was a fantastic thing. He was a modern writer, who was the equal of say, Philip Roth, though he wrote about fantastic things.”

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

Considered sub-literary only by the ignorant, a legion the obituarist is among. His first draft last night was Even Worse.