His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler

Published: 10th September 2019 (print)/10th September 2019 (audio) Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Flatiron Books/MacMillan Audio
Pages: 480/14 hrs and 13 mins
Narrator: Various
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Horror/Anthology/Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★   ★ – 5 Stars

Edgar Allan Poe may be a hundred and fifty years beyond this world, but the themes of his beloved works have much in common with modern young adult fiction. Whether the stories are familiar to readers or discovered for the first time, readers will revel in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tales, and how they’ve been brought to life in 13 unique and unforgettable ways.

My main exposure to Poe has been the Simpsons and the amazing Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Dinner Party series on YouTube. But Poe is such a huge name in literature the references are often found in the most unlikely places. This retelling of Poe’s short stories are an amazing contribution to Poe’s legacy because they bring modernity to his tales while keeping the themes and the unnerving nature of his imagination to new audiences.

I loved the way these authors have retold the original stories. You can see the evidence of the original Poe stories coming through but the unique modern and not so modern settings these interpretations are divine. Some of the stories have a close similarity to the original Poe tales, others have a similarity that is easily recognisable, while others change completely but the theme and intention remains. The horror side is mild otherwise I wouldn’t be touching this, nothing overly grotesque but it is eerie and unsettling which is perfect for any Poe story. There’re sinister intentions and things from out of this world, but each of these authors tells stories that are modern, timeless, and in other realms altogether.

A rarity for an anthology I enjoyed all of these stories. Of course some were more engaging and intriguing than others, but I found that each story had its own curiosities that kept your mind working, especially as you think about what the original story is that they are retelling. Absolute stand outs for me include Happy Days, Sweetheart (The Tell-Tale Heart)The Oval Filter (The Oval Portrait), and She Rode a Horse of Fire (Metzengerstein); and I loved the creativity of The Glittering Death (The Pit and the Pendulum)Changeling (Hop-Frog), and It’s Carnival! (The Cask of Amontillado). But there were so many other wonderful ones like Lygia (Lygia)Night-Tide (Annabel Lee), and The Fall of the Bank of Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher) where each author brought their own styles and imagination into a story that I was amazed the same story could be told but in a completely new way. These authors have given voices to those who didn’t have a voice before. The first person nature of many of these stories allows insight into intent, thoughts, and justification which is fabulous considering some of the deeds depicted in these stories.

The audio version is narrated by each of the authors, telling their own tale to the listener. They also narrated the original Poe story that their reimagining is based on. I enjoyed listening to these authors read their own stories. They had good pace and range of voices which helps you enjoy the stories even more.

I do prefer the new versions, they bring modernity not necessarily in their settings or content, but in their language. Compared with Poe there is a lot less waffling and wordiness (looking at you The Purloined Letter) that is removed while still maintaining the theme and tone of the stories. That is to say some were quite enjoyable, they are dark and sinister, creative and poetic. It is easy to see why Poe’s stories have lived on. These retelling do that wonderfully, even if you don’t read the originals you can still enjoy these retellings, they keep Poe’s intentions alive and the haunting nature of some of these stories is still ever present.

You can purchase His Hideous Heart via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

 

Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party

Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday and to celebrate I am sharing one of my favourite web series: Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Invite Only Casual Dinner Party/Gala For Friends Potluck or more simply, Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party.

Edgar Allan Poe has invited some of the world’s most renowned authors from Dostoyevsky to Mary Shelley, George Eliot to Ernest Hemingway and gathered them in his home where he and the ghost of Lenore are planning a murder mystery dinner party. Things immediately start to go wrong when actual murder is committed, and now the guests must find who the murderer is or risk being killed themselves.

The series was originally funded through a Kickstarter in 2016, and was created by Sinead and Sean Persaud of Shipwrecked Comedy (and who also play Lenore and Edgar). They bring humour, drama, snark and wit to a dinner party and make murder fun. The writing is wonderful as each character uses their own literary styles and works to make references and adds style and drama to the night, or just general frustrations to other dinner guests.

There is so much I love about this series. Seeing George Eliot try to hide the fact that she’s a woman is wonderful, plus Edgar’s frustrations that his dinner party isn’t going as planned, not to mention the continual sarcastic contributions of Lenore or Oscar Wilde’s entire existence.

It includes actors many actors who were in award-winning The Lizzie Bennet Diaries including Ashley Clements and Mary Kate Wiles who played Lizzie and Lydia respectively. It also features Lauren Lopez who you may recognise as Malfoy from A Very Potter Musical among other things, as well as Blake Silver, Jim O’Heir, Ryan Garcia, and a host of other brilliant actors.

The series is made up of 11 episodes, all around ten minutes each. There are also multiple additional videos including prologues, bloopers, and behind the scene videos which are just as fun to watch. You also get to see the planning stages as they hunt for costumes, practise lines, and set up for filming.

The entire series can be found on the Shipwrecked YouTube channel along with all the bonus features. The Kickstarter page, while ended, also has a lot of great information about the cast as well as some great art. You can watch the trailer here and I hope you will fall in love with it instantly. I love this series so much and I think everyone needs to watch it, if not for me, do it for Mr Poe on his birthday.