Synopsis: Horror is part of the human condition, but few peoples across the ages know it quite like the Jews.
Whether it’s pirate rabbis or demon-slaying Bible queens, concentration camp vampires or beloved, fearless bubbies, THE JEWISH BOOK OF HORROR offers you twenty-two dark tales about the culture, history, and folklore of the Jewish people.
Review: The Jewish Book of Horror, ed. Josh Schlossberg (pub. Denver Horror Collective) is a dark, informative and entertaining read. I was drawn to this book because I was wondering how can a people, who have endured so much during the history of the human race, create fictional horror and I also wanted to know what was different about ‘Jewish’ horror compared to standard offerings.
The answer is to be found in the rich religious traditions and folk culture associated with the Jewish people, an aspect given a greater voice in the introduction by Rabbi John Carrier. Story settings varied from biblical to present-day to post-apocalyptic. Demons abounded, and I encountered the dybbuk properly. Social mores and expectations were also touched on, whether to be battled against or to attempt to maintain. Some were quiet horror, others less so, nor was the tragedy of the concentration camp shied away from. Religion and the question of faith was central to many.
It’s hard to highlight favourites when there isn’t a bad story amongst them, but a few standouts for me were ‘How to Build a Sukkah at the End of the World’ by Lindsay King-Miller, ‘The Horse Leech has Two Maws’ by Michael Picco and ‘Ba’alat Ov’ by Brenda Toliari.
Jewish horror as a subgenre is unique, it carries the weight of one of the oldest traditions in the world. This is horror from a different perspective and all the more refreshing for it.