Prey: horror in the Australian desert

Prey: horror in the Australian desert


When Stephen King presented his anthology Danse Macabre to his faithful readers, he identified it as 'my foray into all the fantastic and terrifying worlds that have fascinated and frightened me'. A declaration of intent that can be extended to Macabre, the new series of horror literature inaugurated by Sperling & Kupfer, which promises to offer local readers a selection of works that have garnered the admiration of the King of Horror. An intent that has led the publishing house to carefully select its proposals, preferring an approach of quality rather than quantity, which finds its first form in Gabriel Bergmoser's Prede.

Declare that you want to create a series of proposals horror that has a bearing on King's vision is a considerable risk. The common mistake is to think that Kingh's horror is a monolithic entity, made up of bloody monsters or disturbing paranormal manifestations, while the American novelist has shown, with works such as Mr. Mercedes or The Dome to conceive different declinations of horror, from the cosmic to Lovecraft to the more feral and frightening of the human soul. Keeping what Sperling & Kupfer promised means grasping these nuances, a necessity that seems to have found a first, encouraging step in Prede.

Prede, the horror hidden in the human soul

For the Italian public, Prede is the first experience with the fiction of Bergmoser, an author who, despite his young age, already has his own valenza, with prestigious awards to his credit for his work as a screenwriter. Aiming for a debut with such an intense and violent story is a courageous act for Macabre, who immediately wants to make it clear to readers what to expect from this series: horror in all its possible manifestations. Like the human, feral and bloodthirsty one that Bergmoser stages in Prede.

In the remote interior of Australia, Frank runs a gas station, far from civilization. A shy and gruff man, in his solitude atones for the wrongs of a life, until his son, with whom he has few relations, upsets his existence with a request: to host his niece Allie for the summer. The girl is going through a bad time, thanks to an uneventful family situation, and a change of scenery by staying with her grandfather could be a good way to appease her rebellious soul. Frank and Allie are two strangers, united by a blood bond that does not help to break a wall of silence, which animates their days marked by mechanical and cold rituals.

A flat and colorless summer that is upset with the arrival of Maggie. The young woman is injured and in a daze, but when she is rescued by Frank and a couple of patrons, her only request is not to call for help or the police. Worried about treating her, those present do not contact her authorities, a decision they will regret when an uneasy-looking man shows up, looking for Maggie, threatening retaliation if the woman is not handed over to him. Frank's reticence, despite having suspicions about the young wound, turns out to be a mistake, which will lead the man to have to fight to defend his niece's life in a night of struggle and blood, when Maggie's past comes knocking on his. port in the form of a redneck clan with feral instincts.

Bergmoser bases his Prey with a narrative that unfolds on two temporal planes, a structure that allows to preserve with particular attention an aura of mystery around the casus beautiful story, Maggie. By alternating the anguished struggle for survival of Frank, Allie and their unfortunate companions to the personal story of Maggie, Bergmoser manages to grasp the right narrative tenor to provide the essential details at the best moment to convey a feeling of growing anxiety, which amplifies the macabre and violent aspect of the story. A conception of earthly, human horror, built on the idea of ​​a commune of men and women far from the civil society, animated by an animal law that distances them from humanity and but of which, ironically, they embody the darker and scarier side. Bergmoser does not limit himself to portraying the characters in their depths, but places them within a dynamic in which every action and thought becomes an integral part of a compelling narrative mechanism, which, while taking place in an unreal context, makes of its profound concreteness. , of its feasibility an essential trait to press on the readers' emotions.

Blood and violence in the Australian desert

Bergmoser demonstrates a convincing mastery of emotional narration, a sensation that for the Italian public is embellished from the work of Chiara Brovelli, translator of Prede, who, especially in the dialogues, finds a stylistic code that makes the reading compelling and credible. A bloody and violent story, in which both instinctive impulses and the less noble sides of the human soul find space, Prede turns out to be a pleasant discovery, a declination of human horror and, perhaps for this reason, particularly biting.

Macabre therefore begins with the right attitude, showing a well-defined identity that is evident from the graphic concept of the volume, created by Carlo Mascheroni. The cover, which bears the Macabre logo that clearly pays homage to King, is a splendid illustration by Ausonia, which stands out perfectly against the dark tint of the volume, interrupted only by the red tint of the pages. The realization of the back cover is interesting, where in addition to the synopsis of Prede there are two small illustrations by Bergmoser and Ausonia, created by Mattia Suroz. Details that denote editorial care and an accurate design vision, which bode well for the future of Macabre.

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