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Reviewed by:
  • His Hideous Heart: Thirteen of Edgar Allan Poe’s Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined ed. by Dahlia Adler
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Adler, Dahlia, ed. His Hideous Heart: Thirteen of Edgar Allan Poe’s Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined. Flatiron, 2019 [480p]
Trade ed. I N 978-1-250-30277-9 $18.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-250-30278-6 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 7-12

Thirteen authors reshape short stories by Edgar Allan Poe in a collection that practically pulses with curricular potential. Both well-known works, such as “The Raven” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” and lesser-known stories, such as “The Oval Portrait” and “Metzengerstein,” are reimagined here, and the retellings echo the suspense, wit, and undeniable sadness that move through the original pieces. Genres run from science fiction to fantasy to historical fiction to realism, and while some go for a straight-up reinterpretation of plot, others engage more thematically. Lamar Giles’ “The Oval Filter” throws a modern flair over its source material with an Instagram mystery and a grieving basketball star; “Happy Days, Sweetheart” by Stephanie Kuehn is a disturbing post-Trump take on gender roles and power based on the “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Abandonment and revenge are explored when Marieke Nijkamp brings “Hop-Frog,” the story of a jester and his cruel king, into the realm of the fae; and Annabel Lee is grieved in Tessa Gratton’s story of forbidden queer romance. There’s not a dud among the bunch here, but two stunners really elevate the collection: Fran Wilde’s “The Fall of the Bank of Usher,” which sees the titular bank as both a physical and virtual space, and Hillary Monahan’s haunting “Red,” which, while omitting the plague that haunts “The Masque of the Red Death,” still draws on the theme of death as chaotic and inevitable. Poe’s original short stories are all provided in the second half of the book, setting the title up for easy classroom use, and any fan of the writer will appreciate these modern takes on the morbid and macabre. [End Page 4]